Lenssens, Ria

(Maria Francisca Theresia) Ria Lenssens. Soprano, teacher, choir conductor, b Antwerp 2 Jun 1903, naturalized Canadian 1954; premier prix voice (Brussels Royal Cons) 1924. She taught singing and solfège 1931-48 at the Brussels Royal Cons, where she had studied, and gave lessons at the École de musique de St-Josse-Schaerbeek. During the same period she gave recitals and concerts with orchestras, notably for the Société philharmonique de Bruxelles, and performed on radio across Europe, singing the premieres of several Belgian compositions. She moved to Montreal in 1948 and taught 1948-71 at the CMM, 1948-57 at the CMQ, 1948-67 at McGill University, 1954-60 at the École normale de musique (where she also directed the Le Petit Ensemble vocal), and 1955-67 at the University of Montreal. Gaston Germain, Gabrielle Lavigne, and Jacqueline Martel were among her pupils. She conducted the choir of the Villa-Maria Convent 1955-63. She recorded 16 French and Flemish art songs for Columbia. In 1943 she sang the Virgin in the first recording of Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher (Gramophone G-W-1546-54; reissued on LP HMV FALP-213-214) with the Orchestre national de Belgique, the Caecilia d'Anvers chorale, and the children's choir of the Institut Notre-Dame de Cureghem, conducted by Louis de Vocht. She took part in a concert conducted by Léon Jongen in 1946 when the Institut national de radiodiffusion (renamed Radio-Télévision belge) recorded Caplet's Le Miroir de Jésus for Columbia. Ria Lenssens has given many lectures, including one to the Association Belgique-Canada, and has been an examiner in Belgium and Canada.