Maurice Blackburn (composer)

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Joseph Albert Maurice Blackburn (22 May 1914 – 29 March 1988 in Montreal) was a Canadian composer, conductor, sound editor for film, and builder of string instruments. He is known for his soundtracks for animated film.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Blackburn was born in Quebec City.[2] He was a graduate of the Université Laval and the New England Conservatory in Boston.[2] He won the George Allan Prize in 1940.

He was married to screenwriter Marthe Blackburn, and was the father of science fiction writer Esther Rochon.


From 1942-1978 Blackburn worked as a film composer for the National Film Board of Canada, where he was a frequent collaborator of Norman McLaren.[2] Together they developed techniques for etching sound and image directly on film.[3] Blackburn composed the music for McLaren's animation film Blinkity Blank (1954)[4] which won twelve prizes, including the Short Film Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.[5] In 1969 he created an animated film of his own, Ciné-Crimé.[6]

He composed the opera Une mesure de silence, whose libretto was written by his wife Marthe.[7]

In 1983 he was awarded the Albert-Tessier Prize by the Quebec government.[8]




  1. ^ Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario. Department of Music History, University of Western Ontario.; 1985. p. 43, 60.
  2. ^ a b c Nichola Dobson. Norman McLaren: Between the Frames. Bloomsbury Publishing; 25 January 2018. ISBN 978-1-5013-2878-7. p. 147–.
  3. ^ "Making synthetic music". Focus on Animation. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  4. ^ The Music and Sound of Experimental Film. Oxford University Press; 29 June 2017. ISBN 978-0-19-046992-4. p. 99–.
  5. ^ Gary Evans. In the National Interest: A Chronicle of the National Film Board of Canada from 1949 to 1989. University of Toronto Press; 1991. ISBN 978-0-8020-6833-0. p. 34–.
  6. ^ Giannalberto Bendazzi. Animation: A World History: Volume II: The Birth of a Style - The Three Markets. CRC Press; 23 October 2015. ISBN 978-1-317-51990-4. p. 350–.
  7. ^ "Canadian Opera Premieres". The Globe and Mail, November 3, 1956.
  8. ^ Denis Allaire. "Maurice Blackburn". The Canadian Encyclopedia.