Michel Longtin | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Michel Longtin

Longtin, Michel. Composer, teacher, b Montreal 20 May 1946; BA (Montreal) 1967, B MUS composition (Montreal) 1973, M MUS composition (Montreal) 1975, D MUS composition (Montreal) 1982.

Longtin, Michel

Longtin, Michel. Composer, teacher, b Montreal 20 May 1946; BA (Montreal) 1967, B MUS composition (Montreal) 1973, M MUS composition (Montreal) 1975, D MUS composition (Montreal) 1982. Longtin started his education in the sciences, though quickly changed programs and graduated with a BA at the Collège des Eudistes (Montreal) in 1967. He also attended the Banff School of Fine Arts, studying theatre, during the summers 1963-4. In 1968 he pursued courses in computer science, stage directing and music, the last with André Prévost. In 1970, he entered the composition program at the University of Montreal, where he completed a baccalaureate, a master's degree under Prévost, and a doctorate under Serge Garant. Earlier, Longtin also briefly studied with Samuel Dolin at the Royal Conservatory of Music (July 1971), and worked in the electronic music studio of McGill University - 1971-2 with Paul Pedersen, 1972-3 with Bengt Hambraeus, and 1974-5 with Alcides Lanza. In 1971 he won the BMI Award to Student Composers with Il était une fois and in 1974 an Alliance chorale canadienne prize for Pays de neige (Alliances des chorales du Québec 1975). He received a grant from the Canada Council in 1974 and the Canadian League of Composers prize in 1975 for Le Pèlerin d'Alnéoïl and Brandon North. In 1978 he participated in the founding of ACREQ (the Association pour la création et la recherche électroacoustiques du Québec). In 1986 Longtin won the Jules Léger Prize for his piece Pohjatuuli, which was premiered in Toronto in 1984 by the SMCQ (Société de musique contemporaine du Québec) Ensemble, and has since been played several times, the most recent being at the MNM (Montreal/New Music) Festival in 2003.

Two of Longtin's electroacoustic works, Rituel II and Mi e meta, were performed at Place des Arts (June 1972) by the dance group Nouvelle-Aire, which also took part in the premiere of his Pour conjurer la montagne (1977); the latter subsequently became an integral part of La Trilogie de la montagne, which was also premiered by Nouvelle-Aire in 1980. Longtin's instrumental music includes, notably, solo percussion and orchestral music, eg La Route des pèlerins reclus (commissioned by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and premiered in 1985), Autour d'Ainola (premiered and recorded by the Orchestre Métropolitain in 1987), Colère: Berlin '61 (for percussion, 1989) and Hommage à Euler, written for the Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne also in 1989. Longtin wrote Sursolitudes for I Musici in 1994, Lettre posthume de Conrad for chamber orchestra in 2000, and his massive symphonic work (in both scope and length), Quaternions, in 1997; it was premiered by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in March 2003.

Longtin's Musical Language

Though he had a period in the 1970s when he worked mostly on electroacoustic music, Longtin has, over the last 20 years, become a composer of mainly instrumental music. The need to express his intimate feelings made him depart from the strict serial school of the 1950s to develop a musical language favouring the use of components inherent in many systems of musical composition, from mathematically derived forms and harmonies to passages of film music. His influences, which range from Toru Takemitsu and Iannis Xenakis to Leonard Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith, demonstrate the wide aesthetic palette from which Longtin draws his material, as well as his undogmatic approach to contemporary music. His music harbours many, often rapid, contrasts of these styles, such as heavy dissonant textures leading into an innocent, sentimental, and childlike C-major passage in La Route des pèlerins reclus. He has written programs for certain pieces (a small book in the case of Quaternions). His music manages to make heterogeneous styles coherent through its personal nature, imagination, and emotive character.

Teaching Positions and Memberships

Longtin taught at the University of Montreal 1973-2008 and at the Saint-Laurent CEGEP, at the École Vincent-d'Indy, and at McGill University. He is an associate of the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers.

Selected Compositions

Stage and Electroacoustic
Au Nord du lac Supérieur. 1972. Tape

Embarque, on ira pas vite. 1972. Tape

Le Réveil de Fedhibô. 1972. Tape. Mel SMLP-4027

La Mort du Pierrot. 1972. Tape. RCI 373

La Trilogie de la montagne. 1977-9. Tape. SNE 507

Le Jeu de l'inventaire, musical theatre (M. Garneau). 1981. Wind quintet, actor. Ms


Il était une fois. 1973. Orch, chorus, tape. Ms

Le Pèlerin d'Alnéoïl. 1975. Orch, chorus, tape. Ms

Migration vers l'automne. 1979. Str orch, 2 percussion. Ms

De Saint-Malo à Bourges par Bouffémont. 1981. Ms

Lettre d'Étienne à Jacques. 1983. Ms

La Route des pèlerins reclus. 1984. Ms

Autour d'Ainola. 1986. Ms. Centrediscs CMC-CD-3188 (O métropolitain)

Lettre de Roxana à Décébal Hormuz. 1987. Ms

Paix en migration. 1989. Str orch, speaker. Ms

Citortia. 1990. Chamb orch. Ms

Hommage à Euler. 1990. Ms


Brandon North. 1973. 4 percussion. Ms

Thrène pour Rachel et Dimitri. 1975. 2 fl, 2 violoncello, harp, piano, 2 percussion. Ms

Deux rubans noirs III. 1976. Ob, clarinet, 3 violoncello, 4 percussion. Ms. RCI 498 (SMCQ)

Kata: San Shi Ryu. 1982. Fl, 5 percussion. 2 violoncello, 2 double-bass. Ms. RCI 611 (SMCQ)

Pohjatuuli, hommage à Sibelius. 1983. Cl, 2 horn, trumpet, trombone, 3 percussion, 2 violoncello, 2db. Dob-Yppan 1990. Centrediscs CMC-14-1584/RCI 585 (SMCQ)

Les Jardins d'hiver. 1985. Pf, string quartet, percussion. Ms

Deux rubans noirs pour Serge Garant. 1986. Pf. Ms.

Venu de l'est: hiver '44. 1987. Perc. Ms. SNE 572 (M.-J. Simard)

Colère: Berlin 61. 1989. Perc. Ms

Also film music, including, for NFB, Copies conformes (1973), Poids lourds (1976), Ni scène ni coulisse (1978), and Le Bouffe Pétrole (1982)

Further Reading