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 Ernest Gagnon

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Ernest Gagnon

  • Birth 7 Nov 1834 Louiseville, Mauricie Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Death 15 Sep 1915 Quebec, Capitale-Nationale Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Burial Quebec, Capitale-Nationale Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Memorial ID 7681059

Canadian organist, folklorist, professor, historian, composer, man of letters and senior official. Born in Louiseville (Québec) on November 7, 1834. He studied at the College of Joliette from 1846 to 1850, then established himself in Montréal and became acquainted with a good number of the local major musicians. In 1853, he moved to Québec where he became organist at the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church. As a founding member of the École normale Laval in May 1857, he became its first professor of music. He obtained however a leave of absence for this first school year and went to Paris, one of the first of many Canadian musicians to be turned to Europe to perfect their formation. In Paris, he worked the piano with Henri Herz and Alexandre Gloria, and took lessons of harmony and composing with Auguste Durand. He became acquainted also with various European musiciens like Auber, Marmontel, Niedermeyer, Francis Planté, Rossini, Thomas, and Verdi, and he made a short stay in Italy. Upon his return to Québec, he took again his post of professor at the École normale Laval, a position he held from 1858 to 1877. He also taught at the Petit Séminaire and at the Ursulines school. He wrote articles on history for the “Courrier du Canada”. He succeeded Antoine Dessane as organist of the cathedral of Quebec and held this post from 1864 to 1876. (1864-76), In 1866, he was one of the founders and the first director of the Musical Union of Quebec. He was also one of the founders of the Academy of Music of Quebec in 1868. He forsook little by little his work of organist and professor to undertake a career in the civil service of the Province. In 1875, he became the secretary of the Premier Charles-Eugene Boucher of Boucherville, then secretary with the Ministry of Public Works, this from 1876 to 1905. It is his collection of “Chansons populaires du Canada”, published between 1865 and 1867, that rendered him famous : this book ranking itself one of the books of music most diffused in the history of Canada. He was an organist with a gift for improvisation. In addition to interesting studies and musical chronicles, he left a collection of accompaniment of liturgical songs, compositions whose majority enter the repertory of sacred music. He saved from oblivion the most beautiful canticles of French Canada; old Noëls and canticles of the ancient missions. He died in Québec on September 15, 1915.

Bio by: Guy Gagnon





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Guy Gagnon
  • Added: 13 Jul 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7681059
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ernest Gagnon (7 Nov 1834–15 Sep 1915), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7681059, citing Cimetière Notre-Dame-de-Belmont, Quebec, Capitale-Nationale Region, Quebec, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .