Marc Bélanger

(Joseph Charles) Marc Bélanger. Violinist, violist, arranger, composer, teacher, b Quebec City 30 Jul 1940; premier prix harmony, chamber music (CMQ) 1960. He began violin lessons with his father, Edwin Bélanger, at six, and studied 1948-61 at the CMQ with Claude Létourneau and Calvin Sieb.

Bélanger, Marc

(Joseph Charles) Marc Bélanger. Violinist, violist, arranger, composer, teacher, b Quebec City 30 Jul 1940; premier prix harmony, chamber music (CMQ) 1960. He began violin lessons with his father, Edwin Bélanger, at six, and studied 1948-61 at the CMQ with Claude Létourneau and Calvin Sieb. He also studied conducting with his father and, in the summer of 1965, with Hermann Scherchen at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. He was a conductor and arranger for the CBC in Quebec City, and played in CBC orchestras 1956-71 in Quebec and 1972-6 in Montreal, and in the Quebec Symphony Orchestra 1958-72, the last three years as principal viola. He taught viola and chamber music 1973-9 at the University of Montreal and at the CMQ, at the Conservatoire de Chicoutimi, and at the CMM where he gave courses in viola, violin, arranging and jazz ensemble 1971-7. He composed a number of instrumental works including a Divertissement (1969) for string quartet.

The Groupe Marc Bélanger, which he founded in 1976, recorded several of his compositions for the LP Les Cordes en liberté (Kébec-Disc KD931). The 10-musician ensemble performs on electrified instruments, in particular the violin (vi-tar), which can be made to achieve effects akin to those produced by percussion instruments. Bélanger orchestrated André Gagnon's music for the ballet Mad Shadows (1977) and made several arrangements for Gilles Vigneault, also playing 1966-79 in the ensemble that accompanied the author-composer. During the summer of 1979 Bélanger conducted a 50-piece orchestra in performances of his works at Montreal's Expo Theatre, and taught at the Domaine Forget in St-Irènée, Que, where he introduced a jazz class for strings (1978-81). He participated in the founding of the Orchestre métropolitain in 1981 and was its musical 1981-6 and artistic 1986-87 director. He was invited to take part, with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, in the inauguration gala of the Canadian Pavillion at Expo 86. In 1991 he began teaching violin and alto and is in charge of the string orchestra at Cégep Drummondville. He also is the principal violin of the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra and of the Orchestre de chambre de l'Estrie.

See also Guy Bélanger (his brother).