Dominique Ducharme | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Dominique Ducharme

Dominique Ducharme. Teacher, pianist, organist, b Lachine, near Montreal, 14 May 1840, d Montreal 28 Dec 1899. He studied piano as a child with a teacher called Andrews, an organist in Lachine, and continued in Montreal with Paul Letondal and then for a year with Charles W. Sabatier.

In 1863 he was admitted to the Paris Cons as an auditor. There he studied piano for five years with Antoine Marmontel and harmony with François Bazin. Ducharme met Liszt at the musical soirées organized by Rossini, and Liszt's suggestions were important in developing his piano technique. He also became acquainted with Camille Saint-Saëns.

On his return to Montreal in 1868 Ducharme concentrated on teaching piano. Among his pupils were Édouard Clarke, Achille Fortier, Alfred La Liberté, William Reed, Émiliano Renaud, and Joseph Saucier. In 1889 he met Paderewski, whom he considered to be the greatest pianist of his day, and because of his influence introduced methods of piano technique characteristic of the Viennese school. Besides teaching, Ducharme held the post of organist 1869-98 at the Gesù Church. A man of retiring disposition, he rarely performed in public as a pianist, preferring to display his musical talents in the seclusion of the organ loft. According to Arthur Letondal, Ducharme 'used great tact in compensating for the deficiencies of the often incomplete orchestras that were assembled on festive occasions. As a soloist, he played pleasant, melodic pieces exquisitely, bringing to them the stamp of his personality... He has left the memory of a sensitive artist and a delightful man' ('Le Gesù... musical,' Album annuel du Collège Sainte-Marie, Montreal 1939). He was president 1896-7 of the AMQ.

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