Pierre Grandmaison | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Pierre Grandmaison

Pierre Grandmaison. Organist, teacher, composer, b Montreal 27 Jul 1949; B MUS (Montreal) 1970. Pierre Grandmaison has been the regular organist at the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal since 1973. Also an accomplished composer, Grandmaison received the Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et lettres de France in 1985.

Pierre Grandmaison studied piano with Jeanne Gascon and 1966-70 with Marie Roby and Yvonne Hubert at the École Vincent-d'Indy. He also studied organ with Eugène Lapierre 1968-9 and with Françoise Aubut. Awarded a grant by the Quebec government, he studied 1970-1 in Paris with Maurice and Marie-Madeleine Duruflé.

On his return from France Grandmaison gave organ recitals at the Music Pavilion of Man and His World, on CBC radio, and elsewhere. Assistant organist at the churches of St-Thomas-Apôtre, Notre-Dame-du-Rosaire, and St-Alphonse-d'Youville, in 1973 he became the regular organist at Notre-Dame in Montreal and inaugurated that church's Concerts du midi. In May 1977 he performed with an orchestra at a musical evening offered by the City of Montreal to delegates from 60 countries to an international transportation congress, and the same year he inaugurated the restored Casavant organ at Mont St-Hilaire, one of the first instruments by that builder.

At the Grand Séminaire in Montreal he became choir director in 1976, began teaching sacred music in 1977 and was regular organist on the Guilbaut-Thérien instrument which he inaugurated in 1991. He performed on two occasions at Notre-Dame de Paris (1978, 1982). In 1990 he was the official organist for the Grey Nuns during the celebrations of Ste-Marguerite d'Youville's canonization in Rome, which included playing at St-Peter's Basilica. Pierre Rolland, reviewing his first recording devoted to Bach, wrote:'Pierre Grandmaison plays Bach with sincerity and conviction. He makes admirable use of the reverberation in the church and thus controls the duration of the sound, with the result that the rhythmic pulse is particularly effective' (Montreal Le Devoir, 19 Feb 1977).

As a composer, Grandmaison has written a Messe'Notre-Dame de Montréal' (1986) for trumpets, trombones, tympani, organ and mixed choir, commissioned by the Diocese of Montreal for the 150th anniversary of its founding. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Pope John-Paul II's election, he composed Symphonie Theos (1988) for choir, organ and large orchestra. He also wrote a mass in honour of Ste-Marguerite d'Youville, and conducted its premiere in Montreal in 1991 with the Chamber Ensemble of the Orchestre métropolitain and a choir of 150 voices. That year he was commissioned for a Messe solennelle for the 350th anniversary of the founding of Montreal. He received the Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et lettres de France in 1985.