Edwin Bélanger. Orchestra and band conductor, violinist, violist, arranger, teacher, b Montmagny, near Quebec City, 18 Nov 1910, d Quebec City, 14 Jan 2005; honorary D (University of Quebec) 1984. He studied violin first at the Brothers of the Sacred Heart College in Montmagny, then at the Séminaire de Québec with J.-Alexandre Gilbert. He also studied harmony there with Omer Létourneau, one of whose daughters he later married. He was a member 1928-31 of the Société symphonique de Québec (Quebec Symphony Orchestra) and in 1933 won the Prix d'Europe for violin. He took violin courses 1933-4 with Carl Flesch in Paris and subsequently studied conducting with Ernest Read in London. On his return to Canada in 1935 he began working for the CBC in Quebec City as instrumentalist, conductor, and arranger. He also helped found the Cercle philharmonique de Québec (see Quebec Symphony Orchestra) and conducted it until 1942. In 1937, with the rank of captain, he succeeded Charles O'Neill as the head of the Royal 22nd Regiment Band, touring with the band in the Far East, Europe, and the USA and serving in the post until 1961. He made several arrangements for concert band.
Bélanger was artistic director of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra 1942-51 and later frequently a guest conductor; he returned to serve 1966-75 as a first desk player in the second violins, 1975-7 as principal viola, and thereafter as a member of the second violins 1977-84. He taught viola and orchestral classes at the CMQ 1973-85 and was music director of the Concerts Couperin 1977-82. He was president of the AMQ 1947-50, 1953-6, 1963-5, and 1971-4. In 1966 he became the proprietor of the music retail and publishing firm the Procure générale de musique de Québec.