Noëlla Genest. Organist, teacher, b Saint-Nicolas, near Quebec City, 12 Dec 1940; premier prix organ (CMQ) 1964, premier prix history (CMQ) 1965. She studied at the CMQ (1957-65) with Claude Lavoie (organ). After winning first prize at the RCCO Montreal Centre Competition (John Robb Organ Competition) in 1965, she studied organ in Paris with Marie-Claire Alain thanks to a scholarship from the Quebec government. Back in Quebec, she was appointed (1968-89) principal organist at the Notre-Dame du Cap basilica in Cap-de-la-Madeleine (near Trois-Rivières), where she established and coordinated (1969-89) the Récitals d'été series. She has given concerts for several organ societies in Quebec, and she has been heard on CBC radio. She has performed elsewhere in Canada, in the USA and in Europe. She premiered Ode à l'aurore by Alain Gagnon during the RCCO Convention held in Ottawa in 1985. Following a recital she gave at the Saint-Joseph Oratory in 1973, Claude Gingras wrote in La Presse (Montreal, 2 Aug 1973): 'Relying on a very secure technique, profound musical artistry and an obvious knowledge of organ writing, and resorting to registration that is always rich and yet well-balanced, Noëlla Genest was successful in displaying the structure of Bach's most sublime pages, and in conveying to her listeners the spirit of Hindemith's and Jehan Alain's austere works'.
Noëlla Genest was a founding member and director (1971-82) of Pro Organo Mauricie. In 1987, she began to coordinat the Bulletin published by Les Amis de l'orgue de Québec. Professor at the Conservatoire de Trois-Rivières (1968-80), she began teaching organ at the CMQ in 1980. The organists Sylvain Barrette, Nicole Lemieux and Raymond Perrin were among her students. In 1982, she recorded an LP of works by Bach, Walther, Widor, Vierne and Alain on the Siscom label (SC-11213).