Gilles Tremblay (composer)

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

Early life and education[edit]

Trembay studied at the conservatories of Québec in Montréal and Paris (1954–61), where his teachers included Olivier Messiaen (analysis), Andrée Vaurabourg-Honegger (counterpoint), Yvonne Loriod (piano), and Maurice Martenot (inventor of the ondes Martenot).[1][2] He also attended Stockhausen's summer courses at Darmstadt, where he became interested in electro-acoustic techniques.[3]


Tremblay returned to Quebec in 1961. He taught musical analysis at the Centre d'arts Orford [fr] and at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Quebec City.[3] 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 [fr], Raynald Arseneault, Yves Daoust, François Dompierre, Marc Hyland, Ramon Lazkano, Robin Minard, Éric Morin, Silvio Palmieri, Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux, Isabelle Panneton [fr], André Villeneuve, Claude Vivier, and Wolf Edwards.[4]

Early in his career he performed as a specialist on the ondes Martenot.[5]

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.[2]

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)
  • L'eau qui danse, la pomme qui chante et l'oiseau qui dit la vérité, Opéra féerie based on "The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird" (2009)


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



  • 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.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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. doi:10.7202/044859ar

External links[edit]