Gilles Tremblay (composer)

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GT 2000.jpg

Gilles Tremblay, OQ (6 September 1932 – 27 July 2017) was a Canadian composer.

Early life and education[edit]

Trembay studied at the Conservatories of Montreal and Paris (1954–61), where his teachers including Olivier Messiaen (analysis), Andrée Vaurabourg-Honegger (counterpoint), Yvonne Loriod (piano), and Maurice Martenot (inventor of the ondes Martenot) (Mather 2001; Beck 2017). He also attended Stockhausen's summer courses at Darmstadt, where he became interested in electro-acoustic techniques (Huss 2017).


Tremblay returned to Quebec in 1961. He taught musical analysis at the Centre d’arts Orford and at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec, at Quebec City (Huss 2017). Beginning in 1962, and for many years, he taught composition at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal. Among his pupils are Serge Arcuri, Raynald Arseneault, Yves Daoust, François Dompierre, Marc Hyland, Ramon Lazkano, Robin Minard, Éric Morin, Silvio Palmieri, Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux, André Villeneuve, Claude Vivier, and Wolf Edwards (Lefebvre 2018).

Early in his career he performed as a specialist on the ondes Martenot (Orton and Davies 2001).

In 1991, he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.

Tremblay died August 4, 2017, at Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Beck 2017).

Compositions (selective list)[edit]

  • Mobile, for violin and piano (1962)
  • Champs I, for piano and 2 percussionists (1965)
  • Cantique de durées, for seven groups of instruments (1960)
  • Sonorisation du Pavillon du Québec, 24-channel electronic music (1967)
  • Souffles (Champs II), for 2 flutes, oboe, clarinet, horn, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, piano, 2 percussionists, and contrabass (1968)
  • Vers (Champs III), for 2 flutes, clarinet, trumpet, horn, 3 percussionists, 3 violins, and contrabass (1969)
  • Jeux de solstices, for orchestra (1974)
  • Oralléluiants, for soprano, bass clarinet, horn, 2 percussionists, and 3 contrabasses (1975)
  • Fleuves, for piano, percussion, and orchestra (1976)
  • Vers le soleil, for orchestra (1978)
  • Le Signe du lion, for horn and tam-tam (1981)
  • Triojubilus "À Raphaël", for flute, harp, and cowbells (1985)
  • Les Vêpres de la Vierge, for soprano and orchestra (1986)
  • Musique du feu, for piano and orchestra (1991)
  • L’arbre de Borobudur, for horn, 2 harps, double bass, ondes Martenot, 2 percussionists, and gamelan ensemble (1994)
  • L’espace du coeur (Miron-Machaut), for mixed voices and percussion (1997)
  • Les pierres crieront, for cello and large orchestra (1998)
  • A quelle heure commence le temps?, for baritone, percussion, piano, and orchestra (1999)
  • L’appel de Kondiaronk: symphonie portuaire, environmental work for battle sirens and 2 locomotives (2000)
  • String Quartet ‘Croissant’ (2001)
  • En partage (Concerto), for viola and orchestra (2002)
  • Opéra Féerie L'eau qui danse, la pomme qui chante et l'oiseau qui dit la vérité, (2009)


  • 1968. "Note pour Cantique de durées." Revue d'esthetique 21, nos. 2–4 ("Musiques nouvelles"): 51–58.


  • Auzolle, Cécile. « De la résurgence du merveilleux : l’exemple de L’Eau qui danse, la Pomme qui chante et l’Oiseau qui dit la vérité, un opéra de Gilles Tremblay et Pierre Morency. » Circuit, volume 20, numéro 3, 2010, p. 9–42.
  • Beck, Gordon. 2017. "Composer Gilles Tremblay Has Died at 85". Montreal Gazette (29 July; accessed 8 July 2019).
  • Huss, Christophe. 2017. "Gilles Tremblay, la mort du patriarche". Le Devoir (31 July; accessed 8 July 2019).
  • Lefebvre, Marie-Thérèse. 2018. "Gilles Tremblay". Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (18 January; accessed 8 July 2019).
  • Mather, Bruce. 2001. "Gilles Tremblay". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Orton, Richard, and Hugh Davies. 2001. "Ondes martenot". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Peyser, Joan. 1976. Boulez: Composer, Conductor, Enigma. New York: Schirmer Books. ISBN 0-02-871700-7; London: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-29901-4
  • Villeneuve, André. 2001. "Souffles (Champs II, the Mobile, and the Musical Language of Gilles Tremblay." Ex tempore 10, no. 2 (Spring-Summer): 58–147.

External links[edit]