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Guillaume Couture: Biography

Guillaume Couture
1851 - 1915
Region: Québec

Guillaume Couture

Guillaume Couture was born in Montreal on October 23, 1851, although it would be in Paris that he refined his musical knowledge, thanks to a scholarship offered him by the priest of the Saint James parish, Léon A. Sentenne. Couture remained in France from 1873 until 1875 studying harmony, counterpoint, fugue, and orchestration with Théodore Dubois, and voice with Romain Bussine.

As the Parisian public would be the first to hear and appreciate new works such as Memorare, Op 1, Rêverie for orchestra and O Salutaris, Adorate and Tantum Ergo (three religious works), Couture brought back from his stay in France an enviable reputation as well as many other works and new ideas which would contribute to the shaping of his tastes and judgements.

From the age of thirteen, he was already a Choir Master and he would remain so for the greater part of his life. In this capacity, he wrote many arrangements of sacred music and composed several religious works which have enriched our musical heritage: Messe de Requiem and the oratorio, Jean le Précurseur.

In order to improve the level of musical education in the country, Guillaume Couture also took up a career as teacher preferring to do so, however, outside of an institution of higher learning, because he believed that this would be the best way to favour a secure and durable implantation of music in the Province of Quebec. Lastly, he was also very involved in the activities of numerous musical societies as Director of the Montreal Philharmonic Society and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and a founding member of four important musical institutions. Given the impressive number of concerts he directed between 1880 and the first years of our century, it is not surprising that Couture's contribution to the musical life of Montreal was so outstanding.

He became an affiliated composer-member of the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM- France) in 1910. He died on January 15, 1915 in Montreal.


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