Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux

Saint-Marcoux (b Coulombe), Micheline Coulombe. Composer, teacher, b Notre-Dame-de-la-Doré, near Roberval, Que, 9 Aug 1938, d Montreal 2 Feb 1985; B MUS (Montreal) 1962, premiere prix composition (CMM) 1967.

Saint-Marcoux, Micheline Coulombe

Saint-Marcoux (b Coulombe), Micheline Coulombe. Composer, teacher, b Notre-Dame-de-la-Doré, near Roberval, Que, 9 Aug 1938, d Montreal 2 Feb 1985; B MUS (Montreal) 1962, premiere prix composition (CMM) 1967. She studied piano and harmony 1956-8 with François Brassard in Jonquière, Que, and worked 1960-3 with Yvonne Hubert (piano), Françoise Aubut (theory) and Claude Champagne (composition) at the École Vincent-d'Indy. She then became a pupil of Gilles Tremblay and especially of Clermont Pépin at the CMM. Awarded the Prix d'Europe for composition in 1967 with Modulaire for orchestra, she lived 1968-70 in Paris, studying electronic music with the Groupe de recherches musicales of the ORTF and taking courses with Pierre Schaeffer at the Paris Cons. The Groupe de recherches musicales commissioned her to write a work, Arksalalartöq, which was premiered 26 Feb 1971 in Paris. While she was in Paris she also studied privately with Gilbert Amy and Jean-Pierre Guézec. In 1969, with five young composers from different countries, she founded the Groupe international de musique électroacoustique de Paris (GIMEP). She took part until 1973 in its concerts in Europe, South America, and Canada. Two of her works, Bernavir and Trakadie, were premiered in 1970 by GIMEP. Makazoti, commissioned in 1971 by the CBC IS, originally was conceived for the Swingle Singers and was the first of a set of three vocal works influenced by the composer's obvious desire to return to her roots.

Coulombe Saint-Marcoux returned to Quebec in 1971 and formed the Ensemble Polycousmie with the Montreal percussionists Guy Lachapelle, Pierre Béluse, and Robert Leroux to integrate electronic techniques with percussion and dance. From this association came Épisodes. With her three associates, for the series 'Sons et images,' she recorded a program telecast by the CBC in November 1972; she recorded another, utilizing ondes Martenot, in April 1973 with Jean Laurendeau. In April 1972, with Jacques Thériault, she organized three evenings of electronic music in a gallery in Montreal's Old City; the dance companies Groupe de la Place royale and Groupe Nouvelle-Aire participated. In 1977 she was a guest on several programs in the CBC TV series 'Femme d'aujourd'hui'; one dealt with the treatment of the voice in contemporary music.

Coulombe Saint-Marcoux received commissions from the MSO for Hétéromorphie, from the CBC for Alchera, and from the SMCQ for Ishuma, which was presented 14 Nov 1976 on CBC TV as part of a program devoted to three Canadian composers. In addition to her frequent lectures and appearances at professional gatherings, she was a jury member for several competitions, such as the CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers in February 1976. She taught at the CMM 1971-84. She was a member of the boards of CAPAC, of the Canadian Music Centre and of the SMCQ, among others, and a member of the Advisory Commission of the Canada Council 1979-82. Volume 19 of RCI's Anthology of Canadian Music (5-ACM 18), issued in 1984, is devoted to her compositions. In 1985 the Canadian Music Council awarded her a 'special mention for her work and for her contribution to musical life. ' Her status as an associate composer is maintained by the CMCentre. On the occasion of the International Year of Canadian Music in 1986, CAPAC gave Micheline Coulombe Siant-Marcoux's name to a special competition open to all member composers. More than 260 works were submitted and the winners were Timothy Brady, Bruce Mather, Alexina Louie and Paul Dolden.

Her later works employed texts by such Quebec composers as Nicole Brossard, Noël Audel and Paul Chamberland. By then she had abandoned the serialism of some of her earlier works and was seeking a more original organization of her sound world, often selecting one interval, or several, to serve as basic modules for elaboration within several parameters. Coulombe Saint-Marcoux stated in 1981 that, 'to compose, to create, is an extremely forceful gesture by which the composer very humbly attempts, to harmonize his personal path with the evolution of the world in which he lives'. (letter to the MACQ, 27 Jul 1981, published in Compositeurs du Québec : Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux).

Selected Compositions

Comment Wang-Fö fut sauvé, incidental music (puppets). 1983. Fl, horn, violoncello, piano, percussion, ondes M, tape. Ms

Transit, musical theatre (F. Théoret). 1984. Sop (mezzo), soprano, vocal quartet, fl, trombone, percussion, violoncello, ondes M, tape. Herbes rouges 1984

Also music for the film Tel qu'en Lemieux. (1973)


'Reflections of a young composer,' CanComp, 33, Oct 1968

'L'influence de la machine sur la musique du XXe siècle,' Montreal Le Devoir, 27 Jun 1970

'À la recherche d'une nouvelle ''écoute'',' ibid, 5 Apr 1972

'The Role of the Composer,' CMB, Fall-winter 1975-Spring-summer 1976

'Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux,' Musicworks, 18, Winter 1982

'Au carrefour de deux esthétiques,' [Webern, Varèse], Spirale, 40, Feb 1984


Modulaire. 1967 (Montreal 1968). Full orch, ondes M. Ms

Hétéromorphie. 1969 (Montreal 1970). Full orch. Ms

Luminance. 1978 (Thunder Bay 1978). Full orch. Ms. 5-ACM 18 (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra)


Evocations doranes. 1964. Picc, 3 fl, oboe, clarinet. Ms

Sonata. 1964. Fl, piano. Ms

String Quartet. 1966. Ms. RCI 363/5-ACM 18 (Classical Quar of Montreal)

Équation I. 1968. 2 guitar. Ms

Séquences. 1968 (rev 1973). 2 ondes M, percussion. Ms. RCI 492/5-ACM 18 (J. Laurendau)

Trakadie. 1970. Perc, tape. Ms. RCI/CAPAC RM-222 vol 13 (Lachapelle)

Épisode II. 1972. 3 percussion. Ms

Genesis. 1975. Wind quintet. Arch 1978. SNE-501/RCI 479/5-ACM 18 (Que WW Quin)

Miroirs. 1975. Hpd, tape. Ms. (1984). 5-ACM 18 (Nordwall), SNE 542 (Spiteri)

Regards (Saint-Marcoux). 1978. 3 winds, harp, piano, percussion, 3 strgs, tape. Ms. RCI 525/5-ACM 18 (SMCQ)

Mandala I. 1980. Fl (piccolo, tenor recorder), oboe (eng honorary), violoncello, piano, percussion. Ms. RCI 525/5-ACM 18 (Days Months and Years to Come)

Intégration I. 1980. Vc. Ms

Intégration II. 1980. Vn. Sala 1985

Composition I. 1981. Hn. Sala 1985

Horizon I. 1981. Fl. Ms

Horizon II. 1981. Ob. Sala 1985

Étreinte. 1983. 4 ondes M. Ms


Chanson d'automne (Verlaine). 1963 (rev 1966). Sop (tenor), fl, violin, piano or soprano (tenor), piano. Ms

Makazoti (N. Audet, G. Marsolais). 1971. 8 voices, 4 winds, 2 strgs, percussion. Ms

Alchera (N. Brossard). 1973. Mezzo, fl (piccolo), clarinet, trombone, violin, violoncello, 2 percussion, harpsichord (Hammond organ), tape, lights. Ms

Ishuma (Inuit texts, P. Chamberland). 1974. Sop, trombone, violin, double-bass, 3 percussion, ondes M, Hammond organ, synthesizer. Ms. RCI 422 (SMCQ)

Moments. (Saint-Marcoux). 1977. Sop, fl, viola, violoncello. Québec-Musique 1981. RCI 525/5-ACM 18 (R. Landry)

Gésode I (Saint-Marcoux). 1981. Sop, piano. Ms

Gésode II (Saint-Marcoux). 1981. Ten, piano. Ms

1 work for choir and 6 perf. Wing Tra La (1964)


Suite Doréane (3 movts). 1961. GVT 1969. (1st and 2nd movts published under Doréanes. (1st movt Dom S-69002 (Mould)

Variations. 1963. Ms

Kaleidoscope. 1964. Ms

Assemblages. 1969. Ms. RCI 396/5-ACM 18 (Petrowska)

Mandala II. 1980. Ms SNE 553 (Bessette)

Electroacoustic Music

Bernavir (N. Audet). 1970

Arksalalartôq; Contrastances; and Moustières. 1971. (Contrastances and Moustières 5-ACM 18

Zones. 1972. RCI 373/5-ACM 18

Constellation I. 1980. 5-ACM 18

Also music for the film Tel qu'en Lemieux (1973) and 1 work for choir and 6 perfs, Wing Tra La (1964)

Further Reading