Pierre Rolland

Pierre Rolland. Oboist, english horn player, broadcaster, teacher, critic, born Québec City 13 Oct 1931, died Montréal 29 Nov 2011; B MUS (New England Conservatory) 1957.

Pierre Rolland

Pierre Rolland. Oboist, english horn player, broadcaster, teacher, critic, born Québec City 13 Oct 1931, died Montréal 29 Nov 2011; B MUS (New England Conservatory) 1957. He studied at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal 1947-54 with Fernand Gillet (oboe), Jeanne Landry (harmony), Gilberte Martin (theory, solfège), and Jean Papineau-Couture (dictation). In 1954 he became oboist with the Halifax Symphony Orchestra. He worked 1955-7 with Gillet at the New England Conservatory and spent two summers at Pierre Monteux's school in Hancock, Me. He played in the Ottawa Philharmonic 1957-60 and during this period was an announcer on radio station CKCH in Hull. He completed his training at the Paris Conservatory 1960-1 with Étienne Baudo (oboe), Maurice Franck (theory), and Eugène Bigot and Louis Fourestier (conducting).

Rolland served as english horn player with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra 1961-84 and was president of the committee of its Musicians' Association for a number of years. He founded the Pierre-Rolland Quintet, which shortly afterwards became the Ensemble Pierre-Rolland. The group made its debut 30 Nov 1970 at the Salle Claude-Champagne in Montreal. On that occasion it comprised Rolland (oboe and english horn), Jeanne Baxtresser (flute), Eugène Husaruk (violin), Leslie Malowany (viola), and Jack Mendelsohn (cello). Husaruk was later replaced by Otto Armin. Clermont Pépin composed Séquences expressly for the group. Depending on the repertoire, the ensemble added other musicians, as it did for a retrospective program of Canadian music presented 15 Feb 1976 for the Pro Musica Society. Rolland also played with the CBC "Little Symphonies" Orchestra, the CBC Montreal orchestra, and the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec Ensemble, with which he recorded Serge Garant'sQuintet, and conducted the CBC Quebec Chamber Orchestra. A member of the founding council of the Orchestre des jeunes du Québec in 1977, he later became coach for the wind and percussion sections. He was director of the Orford Arts Centre in 1980 and again 1982-9, and became artistic director of the Pro Musica Society in 1987, a position he held until shortly before his death.

Rolland was record reviewer 1965-9 for the Jeunesses musicales Chronicle and 1975-9 for the Montreal daily Le Devoir. On CBC radio he has been host of 'Music de chez-nous,' 'Invitation à la musique,' and 'Faisons de la musique' and an interviewer on 'Les Musiciens par eux-mêmes.' He began teaching at the University of Montreal in 1973 and was dean of its faculty of music 1984-8; he also taught at the Cégep de St-Laurent, at the École normale de musique, and for several years at the École Vincent-d'Indy. He also was in charge of the instrumental ensemble of the Université du Québec à Montréal. For his contributions to music in Canada, Rolland was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2010.

See also Sophie Rolland and Brigitte Rolland (his daughters).


Further Reading

  • Laurier, Marie. "Le défi de Pierre Roland, doyen de la faculté de musique de l'UdM," Montreal Le Devoir, 22 Sep 1984

    Robert, Véronique. "Des airs de famille," L'Actualité, 15 Sep 1991

    Kaptainis, Arthur. "Pierre Rolland was an advocate for young artists," The Montreal Gazette, 5 Dec 2011