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José Delaquerrière: Biography

José Delaquerrière
1886 - 1978
Region: Ontario

José Delaquerrière

JOSÉ DELAQUERRIÈRE (1886-1978) Singer, actor, singing teacher, orchestra leader, composer, born in Paris (France). He receives his early musical training from his parents Louis Delaquerrière (first tenor at the Paris Opéra-Comique, singing teacher) and Louise de Miramont (concert singer, singing teacher). Later, he studies with renowned teachers such as Lack, Brun, La Tombelle, d'Indy, Faure, Fauré.

He begins his career in Paris, in music hall (Apollo Theatre) and operetta (Gaieté-Lyrique). Is in New York, Montreal and Quebec in 1923-24. Back in France from 1924 to 1937, he continues his career and also teaches with his father. Makes many recordings both in France and in Canada (Berliner/HMV, Pathé, Gramophone, Cristal, etc.). He settles permanently in Montreal in 1937. A pioneer of the CKAC radio station in Montreal, he also performs on Radio-Canada (radio and television). He does everything possible to develop the taste for music among Montreal's working class. From 1939 to 1966, he devotes his energy to two major undertakings: his choir Chœur de France and his Conservatoire Populaire Delaquerrière — where, over the years, he teaches singing, absolutely free, to over 8,000 young Montrealers. Its repertory exposes both his pupils and the audience to a wide variety of musical styles. In 1951, he is appointed as teacher at the Province of Quebec Music Conservatory in Montreal. He has signed some 200 works, mainly for voice and piano (also for small orchestra, for piano solo or with other instruments). Some fifteen were published during his lifetime.

In 1976, he gets his book Savoir chanter published. In it, he shares his knowledge of vocal art, and anecdotes about the artistic life of his time. A second edition (rev. & augm,) of Savoir chanter is published in 2008. Copies are available in the libraries of some key institutions in Canada and abroad. Officier de l'Instruction publique de Paris; Palmes académiques; gold medal from the Conseil de la vie française en Amérique; Ordre national du mérite de la France; member of the Order of Canada. He dies in Montreal in 1978.

Many of his works are performed during his lifetime. In 1999, Étude en forme de valse (1936), Nocturne (1954) and Pendant la valse (1954) are presented in public for the first time, by pianist and composer Jack Behrens (London, Ontario: Trillium Plus Music & Letters Series).

The Fonds José-Delaquerrière at the Private Archives of the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec (Montreal) contains manuscript and published works, recordings, works arranged for his choir, (French lyrics if necessary), course notes, documents related to his career and to his Conservatoire populaire, sound tracks of Radio-Canada broadcasts (melodies, talks, interviews). The National Library of Canada has many of his recordings, particularly in its "French-Canada" Berliner collection. Canada's National Archives keep his Canadian publications.

Notes prepared by Liliane Delaquerrière Richardson, London ON, Canada.