Louis Charbonneau

Louis Charbonneau. Timpanist, percussionist, teacher, b Montreal 29 Jun 1932; premier prix percussion (CMM) 1950.

Charbonneau, Louis

Louis Charbonneau. Timpanist, percussionist, teacher, b Montreal 29 Jun 1932; premier prix percussion (CMM) 1950. After studying piano for four years with Françoise D'Amour and Hector Gratton, he entered the CMM in 1947 to study solfège with Isabelle Delorme and percussion with Louis Decair and Saul Goodman. In 1950 he began teaching at the CMM and also at the CMQ, where he established the percussion class. Until 1975 he trained a great many young instrumentalists, including Pierre Béluse, Ian Bernard, Vincent Dionne, Jean-Normand Iadeluca, Roger Juneau, Serge Laflamme, and Jacques Lavallée. Appointed timpanist of the CSM Orchestra (MSO) in 1950, he appeared frequently as a soloist with the orchestra, notably in a 1959 performance of Milhaud's Concerto for percussion and small orchestra under Igor Markevitch, after which the conductor invited him to take part in the 1960 US tour by the Orchestre Lamoureux of Paris. In 1963 he played the Werner Thaerichen Concerto with the MSO under Zubin Mehta. Also in 1963 he was soloist with the McGill Chamber Orchestra in Alexander Brott'sCritic's Corner. In 1976, with the same ensemble, he played Franco Donatoni's Concertino, and his artistry led the critic Claude Gingras to write (Montreal La Presse, 27 Jan 1976): 'Charbonneau is ... capable of the greatest strength and the greatest refinement at the same time ... He's a kind of ''poet of the timpani''.' He took part in 1981 in 19 park concerts of Stravinsky's Histoire du soldat under conductor Charles Dutoit. In 1985 in Stockholm, he was the sole representative of a Canadian orchestra to participate in the first concert of the World Philharmonic Orchestra, broadcast by satellite. Charbonneau has performed Bartók's Sonata for two pianos and two percussion with the MSO (1980), at the Scotia Festival (1985) and at Saratoga Springs, NY (1991).

Among premieres of works in which Charbonneau has participated are Mercure's Pantomime (1949), Joachim'sConcertante No. 1 (second movement) (1957), and Matton'sConcerto for two pianos and percussion (1958). In September 1977 at the PDA he conducted the Percussions de Strasbourg, six additional percussionists from Montreal, and Gilles Tremblay, piano, in a performance of Varèse's Ionisation; his CMM percussion class had given the Canadian premiere of this work in February 1969 in Toronto. Charbonneau was a member of the juries for percussion competitions at the Metz Conservatory and the Strasbourg Conservatory in 1972 and at the Paris Conservatory in 1973, and was a coach for the JM World Orchestra in Israel in 1973. He was founder and director of the Percussions du Québec 1972-74 and performed frequently on CBC radio and TV. He taught 1974-8 at the École Vincent-d'Indy and 1989- at the University of Montreal, has given master classes at the RCMT (1983), at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute (1989), and at the Domaine Forget in Sainte Irénée (1989), and has given clinics at the Percussive Arts Society in London, Ont (1990). In 1990 and 1991 he was timpanist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for several concerts, and participated in its 1991 European tour.

See also Louis Charbonneau (his grandfather), Maurice Charbonneau (his uncle), and Roger Charbonneau (his father).


Further Reading

  • Berger, Paul. 'Je lui dois ma carrière ... percutante,' Culture vivante, 11, Dec 1968

    Dumesnil, Thérèse. 'Louis Charbonneau, timbalier solo,' Perspectives, vol 23, 21 Nov 1981

    'Louis Charbonneau, timbalier solo de l'OSM depuis 40 ans,' Crescendo, vol 8, May 1990

    Laurier, Marie. 'Louis Charbonneau, timbalier à l'OSM depuis 40 ans,' Montreal Le Devoir, 21 Jul 1990

    Turnbull, Ian. 'Louis Charbonneau,' Percussive Notes, vol 32, Dec 1994