Music at Laval University | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Music at Laval University

Oldest French-language university in North America. It was founded 8 Dec 1852 by virtue of a charter signed by Queen Victoria granting the Séminaire de Québec 'the rights and privileges of a university'.

Laval University/Université Laval

Laval University/Université Laval. Oldest French-language university in North America. It was founded 8 Dec 1852 by virtue of a charter signed by Queen Victoria granting the Séminaire de Québec 'the rights and privileges of a university'. In 1876 in Montreal it opened a branch which in 1919 became the University of Montreal by a writ of Pope Benedict XV. A second charter vesting supreme authority in the Laval University council was proclaimed in 1971. Laval University comprises 12 faculties, 9 affiliated schools, and a department of continuing education. In 1989-90 a total of 1396 teachers and 980 part-time lecturers gave instruction to more than 35,000 students.

On 9 Jun 1922, a School of Music was attached to the faculty of arts. At first dedicated to the teaching of sacred music, it soon broadened its field of activities. It was one of the first in Canada to offer a complete theory and instrumental program leading to the baccalauréat, and, from 1936, to a master's diploma The names of Arthur LeBlanc and Henri Vallières (who was to teach there 1931-66) appeared on the first student registration list of 11 women and 18 men. The curriculum consisted of courses in solfège, harmony, theory, and history. In 1924 instruction in piano, violin, and organ was added. The first students to obtain the B MUS were Charles Lapointe and Sister Thérèse de l'Enfant-Jésus in 1929. A department of sacred music was established officially in 1932. The Motu proprio (1903) of Pius X had aroused the enthusiasm of the Quebec clergy by proposing a return to Gregorian music. Some members of the school, including Marius Cayouette and later Elzéar Fortier as well as Lucien Brochu, played an active role in this liturgical revival.

The first deans, Gustave Gagnon 1922-5, Joseph Vézina 1924-5 and J.-Alexandre Gilbert 1925-32, established the structures of a musical program leading to a baccalauréat. With Robert Talbot 1932-54, this curriculum consisted of courses in theory, piano violin and voice. In 1936, tthe school added the licentiate program which, six years later, produced six graduates. Highly successful summer courses were instituted in 1937. Through the collaboration of the school and the Benedictines of St-Benoît-du-Lac, summer courses in Gregorian chant were instituted in 1944. The school awarded its first doctorates in 1933 to Antoine Montreuil, Joseph-Romuald Pelletier, and Robert Talbot. In 1923-4 a group of teachers formed the steering committee of the journal La Musique in its last year of existence. Some years later, musicians associated with the School of Music helped edit the Revue St-Grégoire, 1949-63, which was devoted to sacred music.

In 1942 the school decided to discontinue its own extramural degrees, formerly granted through other schools; the result naturally was a further loss of students. It nevertheless supervises pre-collegiate studies all over Quebec. In 1991, 4183 pupils took the Extension examinations. The opening of the CMQ in 1944 created some difficulties for the school. The CMQ was subsidized by the government and offered free instruction with the result that Laval's enrolment dropped. A short-lived agreement was concluded with the CMQ in 1944, however, to enable certain students to obtain their training from both institutions.

Onésime Pouliot took over as director in 1954 and held the post until 1962. Under him the number of teachers trained in Europe, in particular (eg, Jocelyn Binet and Jeanne Landry) increased. The summer courses begun in 1959 also contributed to an increase in the number of students Its course offerings included a training program for teachers in the Ward method, among other courses.

The 1960s and 1970s were a period of considerable expansion for the school. Under Lucien Brochu, who was director 1962-77, the school took on the dimensions appropriate to a major university; programs were expanded, including that of instrumental teaching and the number and quality of students increased as a result. In 1969 an electroacoustic music studio was founded by Nil Parent. A laboratory for computer-assisted studies was created in 1973 under the direction of Martin Prével to work in the fields of research and ear training. The laboratory is now an independent studio. In 1974 the program for the second study level, until then the equivalent of the licentiate curriculum, was restructured and became a master's program. In the area of jazz, a stage band, founded in 1972 by Robert Monette, has been conducted by Pierre Lessard starting in 1979. A course in improvisation was begun in 1974, and a course in arranging was established the following year. In 1976 a group of teachers working with the university's education department set up a research team in ear training co-ordinated by Gilles Simard.

With Antoine Bouchard as dean 1977-80, there was an attempt to restore the balance among the various instrumental disciplines. In addition to the contemporary music workshop (under Paul Cadrin) and a small vocal ensemble, several flourishing instrumental groups have been co-ordinated by Chantal Masson (large ensembles) and Armand Ferland (chamber music). Jeanne Landry took charge of classes in piano accompaniment, Chantal Masson of the choir (formely), Scott Ross, Michel Ducharme, and Friedemann Fischer of the baroque music ensemble, and Abe Kniaz of the chamber orchestra. The concert band has played under David Bircher and a guitar ensemble under Paul Gerrits. GIMEL, an electroacoustic music group directed by Nil Parent, and the Choeur de clarinettes under Armand Ferland were organized by the school as supplements to its academic program. The latter ensemble took part in the 1979 International Clarinet Congress in Libramont, Belgium. Certain ensembles participated in the recording of three albums released under the title of Musique à l'Université Laval (SNE 508/SNE 521/SNE 561).

With the directors Pierre Thibault 1980-6 and Joël Pasquier 1986-, the school has continued to expand to answer the ever new demands of the milieu. Thus, the voice class has reached a level of excellence through the contribution of Louise André who set an opera studio in 1981; its direction was entrusted to Michel Ducharme who after a brief career as a gamba player, obtained a doctorate in voice from the University of Montreal, and staging to Marc Bégin who obtained his experience in Europe. Friedemann Fischer, a specialist of the Renaissance and Baroque Auffürungspraxis, has conducted the early music studio since it began in 1968. This workshop, a junction between teaching, practice and research has had such contributors as Scott Ross, Pierre Bouchard, Hendrik Bouman; the latter was Fischer's assistant from 1987 to 1990.

Many ensembles have made careers after having being formed at the shool, notably the Ensemble vocal Chantal-Masson, the Ensemble vocal André-Martin and the Camerata vocale, conducted in turn by Arthur Wenk and by Paul Cadrin. The Laval String Quartet, which consists of four teachers, has performed in Canada and abroad since its founding in 1982.

Many subsidized research projects for master's and doctoral candidates have been set up: the history of music in Quebec according to the newspapers, from 1764 to 1918, directed by Juliette Bourassa-Trépanier and Lucien Poirier; the history of plainchant in French Canada, directed by Jean-Pierre Pinson; the development of tests allowing the measurement of material learned, directed by Raymond Ringuette; and ear training evaluation directed by Gilles Simard. Chantal Masson has introduced in instrumental teaching a pedagogical string method for violin and viola based on the integration of types of movement which accelerate instrumental learning.

Over the years the school has occupied numerous locations, but in 1979 it moved to the former Grand Séminaire, renamed the Pavillon Casault in honour of the university's first rector, Father Louis-Jacques Casault. In it are housed the Salle Henri-Gagnon (350 seats), three orchestral rehearsal halls, a music computer laboratory, a studio of early music which has an important collection of replicas of old instruments, two chamber music studios and one for electroacoustics.

Students and teachers have access to a library (for statistics see Libraries) which shares, with other institutions of the city of Quebec, the oldest collection of printed music established in Canada. Moreover it holds almost all the doctoral theses in music education presented in North America and an important collection of scores and recordings of Canadian music. Gisèle Ricard was placed in charge of a documentation centre independent of the library and specializing in musical education and contemporary music. In 1978 she participated in the founding of the Assn de musique actuelle de Québec.

In the academic year 1990-1, 48 professors and 30 lecturers taught the 220 undergraduate, 78 graduate and 17 doctorate students in a choice of five programs at the baccalaureat level - B MUS in performance, composition, music education, literature, or general; five at the master's (M MUS) level - musicology, theory, composition, music education, performance, and instrumental teaching; and two at the doctorate (D MUS) level - music education and musicology. From 1968 to 1989 the school offered courses in music at the Cegep level at the Ste-Foy College.

Among the students at different periods were Jean-Marie Beaudet, Maurice Blackburn, Jacinthe Couture, Hélène Fortin, Lyne Fortin, Raoul Jobin, Marthe Lapointe, and Jules Payment; among the staff members Yves Bédard, Antoine Bouchard, Gustave Gagnon, J.-Alexandre Gilbert, Anna-Marie Globenski, Jacques Hétu, Jean-Paul Jeannotte, Arthur LeBlanc, Marthe Létourneau, Omer Létourneau, Roger Matton, Élise Paré-Tousignant, Lucien Poirier, Antoine Reboulot, Hidetaro and Zeyda Suzuki, and Robert Weisz.

Laval has conferred honorary D MUS degrees on Gustave Gagnon, J.-Alexandre Gilbert, Arthur Lavigne, and Joseph Vézina in 1922, Robert Talbot in 1933, Berthe Roy in 1943, Sir Ernest MacMillan in 1947, Désiré Defauw, Raoul Jobin, and Wilfrid Pelletier in 1952, Father Joseph-Gers Turcotte in 1960, François Brassard in 1961, Léopold Simoneau in 1973, Jon Vickers in 1978, James De Preist in 1980, Mstislav Rostropovich in 1983, Maureen Forrester in 1985, Charles Dutoit in 1985, and Oscar Peterson in 1985. While acting as host to the 14th IFMC Congress in 1961 it awarded honorary D LITT degrees to Helen Creighton and Maud Karpeles, as well as to Bertrand Harris Bronson, a professor at the University of California, and to Claude Marcel-Dubois, the director of the department of ethnomusicology at the Musée national des arts et traditions populaires in Paris.

Many music congresses and festivals have been held at the cité universitaire, including the annual Canadian Music Council conference 1979, the International Guitar Festival 1983, the ARMuQ conference 1986, the Congress of the Northern American Saxophone Alliance 1988, the Learned Societies congress 1989 during which CUMS held its conference, as well as the International Clarinet Festival.

The school annually publishes the revue Recherche en éducation musicale au Québecwhich was launched in 1982 by Lucien Brochu under the title Cahiers d'information sur la recherche en éducation musicale; Raymond Ringuette became director of publications in 1988. Les Presses de l'université Laval, founded in 1950, have published in the music field, volumes 5 to 23 of the Archives de folklore (1951-87) including the six volumes of Conrad Laforte's Catalogue de la chanson folklorique française ; many others of Laforte's studies on the folk song; Monique Vachon's study La Fugue dans la musique religieuse de W.A. Mozart (1970); Robert Cohen's study on Les Gravures musicales dans l'Illustration (1843-1899) (1982); Simonne Voyer's La Danse traditionnelle dans l'est du Québec 1986; and the first volume of the Répertoire des données musicales de la presse québécoise (1990) directed by Juliette Bourassa-Trépanier and Lucien Poirier. A Guide de rédaction de travaux de recherche (1985, rev 1990) by Claude Beaudry was published by the university library for teachers and students of the school.

See also Archives; Archives de folklore; Degrees.