Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal

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Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal
Abbreviation CMQM
Formation 1943
Type Conservatory
Legal status active
Purpose Professional training in music
Region served
Montreal, Quebec
Official language
Manon Lafrance
Parent organization
Conservatoire de musique et d'art dramatique du Québec

The Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (CMQM) is a music conservatory located in Montreal, Quebec. In addition to the Montreal region, the school serves all regions of Quebec, attracting many students from such cities as Granby, Joliette, St-Jean, St-Jérôme, Sherbrooke, and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield among others. Founded by the Quebec government in 1943, it became the first North American music institution of higher learning to be entirely state-subsidized. The conservatoire is part of a network of 9 conservatories in Quebec, the Conservatoire de musique et d'art dramatique du Québec (CMADQ), and was the first school in the CMADQ network to be established. Orchestra conductor Wilfrid Pelletier served as the school's first director from 1943 through 1961. The current director is Raffi Armenian.[1]

The CMQM originally held classes at the Saint-Sulpice Library at 1700 Saint Denis Street and in buildings in that vicinity. In 1956 it moved to facilities on Saint Catherine Street and then to larger ones at the Palais du commerce at 1700 Berri Street in 1964. In 1975 the conservatoire moved to the former building of the Palais de justice de Montréal, at 100 Notre-Dame Street which housed 2 electroacoustic studios, 3 rehearsal rooms, 11 practice studios, and 38 teaching studios. The building also contained two performance halls where the school's ensembles, students, and faculty performed public concerts: the Salle Gabriel-Cusson which seats approximately 200 people and the Salle Germaine-Malépart which seats 125.[1]

In autumn 2001, the CMQM moved to its current location at 4750 avenue Henri-Julien. A major fire on December 7, 2005 seriously damaged the conservatory's facilities. The Government of Quebec restored the facilities at a cost of 46 million dollars, and the new premises opened in the summer of 2008. In addition to practice rooms, classrooms and rehearsal halls, the conservatory contains 85 teaching studios, a 225-seat theater, a concert hall of 225 seats, a recital hall with 100 places, and a large music multimedia center with a recording studio. The conservatoire is also home to a substantial musical library which in 1991 contained more than 56,860 books and scores, 111 current periodicals, and 10,668 audiovisual documents.[1]


Claude Champagne (left) and Wilfrid Pelletier (right) at the opening of the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal in 1943.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Canadian composer Claude Champagne put together a large report on music education. This report was presented to the Quebec government by Champagne and Wilfrid Pelletier with the hopes of establishing Canadian institutes of higher learning for music. The report closely examined music education in Europe as well as in Canada and plans were soon formed to establish a network of state-subsidized school which would be modeled after European conservatories, particularly the Conservatoire de Paris. On 29 May 1942 The Conservatory Act ('Loi du conservatoire') was passed by the Legislative Assembly of Quebec which allocated a $30,000 budget to form the CMADQ's first school, the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (CMQM).[1]

The CMQM opened its doors in January 1943 with its first round of courses which were held at the Saint-Sulpice Library. Pelletier was the school's first director and Champagne the first assistant director. The first full academic school year began the following October with 175 students enrolled. Pelletier and Champagne hired an impressive international staff which included such notable musicians as bassoonist Simon Kovar and Louis Letellier; cellists Jean Belland and Roland Leduc; clarinetist Joseph Moretti; double bass players Roger Charbonneau and Anselme Fortier; flautists Hervé Baillargeon, René Le Roy, Arthur Lora, and Marcel Moyse; harpist Marcel Grandjany; horn players Harry Berv and Bernard Baker; pianists Lubka Kolessa, Fleurette Beauchamp, Jean Dansereau, Auguste Descarries, Yvonne Hubert, Arthur Letondal, Germaine Malépart, Isidor Philipp, and Edmond Trudel; oboists Harold Gomberg, Bruno Labate, and Michel Nazzi; organists Joseph Bonnet and George M. Brewer; percussionist Saul Goodman; trombonist Charles Gusikoff; and violinists Noël Brunet, Albert Chamberland, Camille Couture, Maurice Onderet, and Ethel Stark. The violist Louis Bailly was also on the faculty and he notably founded Quatuor du Conservatoire in 1944, a string quartet in-residence at the CMQM during the mid-1940s.[1]

Isabelle Delorme was the CMQM's first teacher of harmony and counterpoint. Léon Barzin and Charles Houdret oversaw the first courses in orchestration and courses in music history, solfège, and music dictation were led by such professors as Gabriel Cusson, Alfred Mignault, Jean Papineau-Couture, and Isabelle Ria Lenssens among others. Clermont Pépin oversaw the music composition program and Jean Vallerand served on both the faculty and as general secretary. Pépin was later appointed the school's third director in 1967.[1]

Originally the CMQM was entirely an instrumntal program, but the school added a vocal music program in 1951 with courses in opera and choral music. Roger Filiatrault was appointed the vocal program's first director whose staff also included Rachele Maragliano-Mori, Dick Marzollo, and Martial Singher. Around this same time the Orchestre du Conservatoire, a 65-player student orchestra, was formed. Among its directors have been such conductors as Raymond Dessaints, Charles Houdret, Roland Leduc, Rémus Tzincoca, and, since 1980, Raffi Armenian, the school's current director. In 1986 the school formed a chamber orchestra and in 1989 a wind orchestra was established under the direction of Alain Cazes.[1]

List of directors[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°31′26″N 73°35′11″W / 45.5239°N 73.5865°W / 45.5239; -73.5865