Roland Leduc | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Roland Leduc

Roland Leduc, (Joseph Augustin Georges). Cellist, conductor, teacher, administrator, b Longueuil, near Montreal, 25 Jul 1907, d 15 Sept 2001; premier prix (Brussels Royal Cons) 1929, prix de virtuosité Van Cutsem (Brussels Royal Cons) 1930.

Leduc, Roland

Roland Leduc, (Joseph Augustin Georges). Cellist, conductor, teacher, administrator, b Longueuil, near Montreal, 25 Jul 1907, d 15 Sept 2001; premier prix (Brussels Royal Cons) 1929, prix de virtuosité Van Cutsem (Brussels Royal Cons) 1930. He began piano lessons with his mother at 6, switching to the cello at 14. He then took private lessons with Jean-Baptiste Dubois and studied theory with Louis Michiels. On a Quebec government grant he studied 1927-31 with Marix Loevensohn at the Royal Cons of Brussels. At the same time, he took private lessons in harmony and counterpoint with Paul Gilson. He was a regular member of the conservatory orchestra and sometimes played with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Defauw Concerts. He also took part in a concert conducted by Ravel, and another conducted by Richard Strauss.

Leduc returned to Montreal in 1931 and gave recitals and performed as a soloist, notably in Boccherini's Concerto in D at the CSM orchestra's fifth concert in April 1935. He formed the Trio Leduc ca 1932-4 with his wife, the violinist Annette Lasalle-Leduc, and his brother, the pianist Jean Leduc. Roland was a member 1934-40 of the Montreal String Quartet, with which he went to Paris in 1939 to study chamber music with André Tourret. At the same time, he took the opportunity to study with Maurice Maréchal. On his return he was principal cello 1940-8 of the CSM orchestra.

Roland Leduc taught 1940-53 at the École superieure de musique d'Outremont (École Vincent-d'Indy), resuming the position he had held 1937-9. He also taught in Sherbrooke, was among the CMQ's first teachers, and taught cello and orchestra at the CMM. His pupils included Dorothy Bégin, Raymonde Martin, Monique Mercure, and Émile Préfontaine. He was a member of the short-lived CMM Quartet.

Orchestra conducting became a preoccupation for Leduc in the early 1940s, and he conducted for the CBC radio programs 'Les Maîtres de la musique,' 'Images de la Renaissance' (later 'Le Musée d'art'), and 'Radio-Collège'. For the last, he was the producer and conductor of a series of introductions to the orchestra and its instruments. During the summer of 1947 he studied with Pierre Monteux in Hancock, Me. On 11 Jan 1948 he inaugurated the weekly CBC series 'The Little Symphonies' to which his name was attached until 1965. He also conducted for 'L'Heure du concert,' 'Concerts pour la jeunesse,' and 'Les Grands Concerts,' as well as for televised opera (Così fan tutte and Oedipus Rex in 1956). He often conducted the CBC Symphony Orchestra, notably in Stravinsky's Symphony in C and in the Canadian premiere of Dutilleux's Symphony No. 1.

Leduc was a guest conductor with all the principal Canadian orchestras and toured Europe in 1952, 1968, and 1969-70, leading the BBC Manchester orchestra as well as radio orchestras in Brussels, Lausanne, Lugano, Paris, and Turin. In 1952 he conducted the first Montreal Festivals orchestra concert devoted exclusively to Canadian works. For the same society he conducted productions of King David (1954), The Marriage of Figaro (1956), Don Giovanni (1957), and The Abduction from the Seraglio (1960); he was its music director 1960-3. In 1957 he was a founding member of the Grand Opéra of Montreal.

Leduc succeeded Wilfrid Pelletier in 1961 as director of the CMM, and was inspector-general of music 1967-70 at the MACQ. During his 1968 European tour he became the only Canadian to have conducted the Orchestre national of the ORTF in the series 'Les Grands Chefs d'orchestre'. He was director 1970-5 of the Expo Theatre in Montreal and produced 1975-6 a series of introductions to music, 'De concert avec vous,' on Radio-Québec. He was appointed conductor of the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra in 1977 and held the position until 1980.

Leduc recorded Jean Coulthard'sSonata for cello and piano with John Newmark (1949, RCI 4). He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1980. He is Pierre Rolland's first cousin.

Annette Lasalle-Leduc (b Montreal 9 Jul 1903) studied violin in Montreal with Émile Taranto and in New York with Alfred Migerlin. She also studied at the Paris Cons with Maurice Hayot and Édouard Nadaud (violin) and Noël Gallon (harmony). She was a member 1935-45 of the CSM orchestra and second violin with the Montreal String Quartet and the Jean Lallemand Quartet.

An art and music historian and critic, Lasalle-Leduc has taught, lectured, and written many articles. She was the host for CBC radio's 'Le Musée d'art'. Her book La Vie musicale au Canada français was published in Quebec City in 1964. She was a member of the Greater Montreal Council of Arts (now the Conseil des arts de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal) 1956-67 and of the Canada Council 1964-7.