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Otto Joachim: Biography

Otto Joachim
1910 - 2010
Region: Québec

Otto Joachim

OTTO JOACHIM, a composer, teacher, and violist, is originally from Germany (born in Düsseldorf on October 13, 1910). He studied in Düsseldorf at the Buths-Neitzel Konservatorium (1917-28), then at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne (1928-31). In 1934 he left Germany for Singapore, later moving to Shanghai before settling in Montréal (1949) where he has made his career. He was a member of the viola section and later first violist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (1956-76), and taught at McGill University (1956-64) and at the Montreal Conservatory (1956-76). He founded and directed the Montreal Consort of Ancient Instruments (1958-69), and founded the Montreal String Quartet (1955-63). In 1956, he established his own studio for electronic music.

For his work Illumination II, the composer received the 1969 Grand Prix Paul Gilson from the Communauté radiophonique des programmes de langue française. His is a serial technique that borrows at times from tonal language. He employs electroacoustic and aleatoric techniques, theatrical elements, but he always reserves an important place for melodic treatment and lyrical, sometimes tragic, expression (Tribute to St. Romanus). In several of his works, Joachim integrates certain elements of both traditions. His composition Contrastes is basically a serial work, but there are sections where the performers can control its direction.

Two paintings of his, Triptych and Dodecaphonism are permanently exhibited at the Musée de Civilisation, Hull QC, as well as 5 musical instrument replicas of the Renaissance period. His honours include : Chevalier de l'Ordre National de Québec (January 26, 1993); Prix Calixa-Lavallée de la Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste (1990) Québec; Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. Concordia University, Montreal (June 13, 1994).

April 2001

PROCAN, Canadian League of Composers, Honorary member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community


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