Claude Létourneau, baritone, choirmaster, educator (born 26 May 1923 in Montréal, QC; died 2 December 2012 in Montréal). Claude Létourneau was a notable baritone who enjoyed long parallel careers as a prominent singer and music educator.
Education and Teaching Career
Létourneau earned an advanced certificate in teaching at École normale Jacques-Cartier in 1944, and another in Gregorian chant at Université Laval in 1948. He studied voice privately with Pauline Donalda and Victor Brault, and with Martial Singher at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montréal. He was on staff at the École normale Jacques-Cartier (1946–69), first as a teacher of music education and later as the director of students. He then became, in turn, coordinator of the arts division and director of audio-visual production for the Québec Ministry of Education. He was choirmaster at Notre-Dame Church in Montréal (1953–76), and director of Les Disciples de Massenet (1980–83).
In 1954, he began his career as a singer, performing on radio and TV, and with the Opera Guild, the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, the Montréal Festivals, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, the Opéra du Québec, the Opéra de Montréal and other organizations. As a member of the Montréal Vocal Trio and of the Petit Ensemble vocal, he participated in many CBC broadcasts. He also founded and directed the Ensemble vocal Claude Létourneau (1984–88).
Létourneau sang the role of Monsieur Dolmont in the 1968 recording of Joseph Quesnel’s Colas et Colinette (Radio-Canada CBC-234) — the first opera recording released by a Canadian record company — and the role of Alcindoro in the 1980 recording of Festival Ottawa’s production of La Bohème (Historical Recordings Enterprises 2-HRE-428-2S). With the organist Hélène Panneton, he recorded music by French and French Canadian composers on the LP En Prière (1985, Unimusica HP-1002). He also performed on the album Noël, Noël, Noël (RCA Victor Gala CGPS-109).
A version of this entry originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.