Albert Viau. Baritone, folksinger, teacher, composer, b Montreal 6 Nov 1910, d 27 Jun 2001; B MUS (Montreal) 1966, teaching certificate (Quebec Ministry of Education) 1966. He studied piano with Arthur Caron, but at 17 decided to study voice. His teachers were Victor Brault, Arthur Laurendeau (voice), Conrad Letendre (diction), Dom Georges Mercure (Gregorian chant), Oscar O'Brien, Michel Perrault, and Roland Van de Goor (harmony). After studying the classical repertoire, he specialized in folk music and traditional songs.
Performances and Recordings
He made his debut in 1931 in Roméo et Juliette at Loew's Theatre, Montreal, and in 1934 sang in two CRBC series - 'La Petite Histoire' and 'Le Chanteur de lied,' the latter with accompanists Léo-Pol Morin and Jean-Marie Beaudet. Paul-Émile Corbeil engaged him soon afterwards for his Imperial Grenadiers vocal quartet. He was a soloist on numerous radio programs, singing regularly for 21 years on the CBC's 'Le Réveil rural' and for 15 years on the CBC's (later CKAC's) 'Le Quart d'heure de La Bonne Chanson.'
Viau made around 50 78s (listed in Pionniers du disque folklorique québécois), most of them for La Bonne Chanson. In addition, he recorded 'Le Rêve passe' with the Canadian Grenadier Guards Band (RCA 216605) and - under the pseudonym Jacques Dupont - recorded 'Partons, la mer est belle,' 'Le Soir sur l'eau,' and 'Le Lac des amours' (Musica CT-12095-96). He wrote more than 200 songs, some of which were comic patter songs, as well as hymns and two requiem masses. In 1954 he published Six Chansonnettes pour bambins et bambines and in 1958 Six Chansons enfantines with Éditions Albert Viau.
As Producer, Choirmaster, and Teacher
He was also a producer for radio station CJMS (1953-4), and continued to give recitals in Canada and the USA, while working with vocal groups as a director and arranger. He was choirmaster at St-Sixte Church in Ville St-Laurent, Montreal (1950-83), gave lessons in voice, piano, guitar, and recorder in St-Laurent, and taught for the Catholic School Commission of Montreal (1965-85) until his retirement in 1986. Viau's archives are held by la Société d'histoire de la Haute-Yamaska.