Marcelle Deschênes | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Marcelle Deschênes

Marcelle Deschênes. Composer, teacher b Price, near Rimouski, Que, 2 Mar 1939; B MUS (Montreal) 1965, L MUS (Montreal) 1967. At the University of Montreal she studied 1963-7 with Jean Papineau-Couture and Serge Garant.

Deschênes, Marcelle

Marcelle Deschênes. Composer, teacher b Price, near Rimouski, Que, 2 Mar 1939; B MUS (Montreal) 1965, L MUS (Montreal) 1967. At the University of Montreal she studied 1963-7 with Jean Papineau-Couture and Serge Garant. On grants from the French government, the Quebec government, and the Canada Council, she continued her training 1968-9 in France with François Bayle, Henri Chiarucci, and Guy Reibel of the Groupe de Recherches musicales de Paris, and in 1969 she participated in a collective work, Musiques éclatées, produced by the group and presented at the Festival d'Avignon. In Paris from 1968 to 1970 she also attended Pierre Schaeffer's Conservatoire courses on music and its application to audio-visual techniques and studied analysis at the École César-Franck with Olivier Alain. She continued 1970-1 with Daniel Charles (aesthetics), Claude Laloum (analysis, ethnomusicology), and Jean-Étienne Marie (analysis) at the University of Paris and added studies in ethnomusicology at the École pratique des hautes études of the Musée des Arts et Traditions populaires in Paris. Returning to Canada in 1971, she took part in the composition, production, and direction of a collective work Si... longtemps performed in 1972 at the University of Montreal.

Deschênes taught 1972-7 at the electronic music studio of Laval University and participated in the organization of a sound library while also carrying out research in music education. In 1973 she made two experiments in collective music with non-musicians, including a three-day creativity session for 30 women aged 18 to 75. In the autumn she produced sound tapes for the experimental video films Amertube and Le Phasé mou. She participated 1974-6 in concerts by the group GIMEL, and in 1975 she composed the sound track for the NFB film Le Port de Montréal. In 1977 she participated in the creation of ACREQ. She founded in 1979 the electroacoustic studio Bruit Blanc and the following year became a professor at the University of Montreal where in 1991 she continued to teach electroacoustic composition. Her works include 1 1/2 (1966), premiered in 1968 by the pianist Albert Grenier; Voz (cantate mitrailleuse) (1968); 7+7+7+7 ou aussi progressions sur la circonférence du jaune au rouge par l'orange ou du rouge au bleu par le violet, ou même embrassant le pourtour total (1968); Talilalilalilalarequiem (1970), premiered by the SMCQ Ensemble in 1974; and Moll, Opéra-Lilliput pour six roches molles (1976), commissioned by the SMCQ and premiered in 1976. This last work won first prize for mixed-media music at the sixth Concours international de musique électroacoustique in Bourges in 1978. In March 1983, the SMCQ performed the complete version of the multi-media work OPÉRAaaaAH! work which achieved great success; an excerpt from this work, 'L'Écran humain,' has been used as part of a multi-media show by Paul Saint-Jean which has been performed all over the world. In January 1983, the same excerpt had represented Canada at the Centre Georges-Pompidou in Paris, as part of the Journées audiovisuelles internationales. Among other multi-media works by Deschênes are deUSirae (1985), which won a gold medal at the Multi-Images international competition in Munich (1989), Lux (1985) in collaboration with Renée Bourassa, Big Bang (1987), Noël réinventé (1988), and Ludi (1990), an opera-theatre work devised with Renée Bourassa, excerpts of which were given at New Music America in Montreal in 1990. Her work Big Bang II was issued in 1990 on CD (4-ACM 37), while Lux aeterna is part of the CD Halogènes issued in 1991 (UMMUS UM-101).

Further Reading

Challenge yourself - take the CC Quiz!

The Canadian Encyclopedia is a project of Historica Canada, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization devoted to teaching Canadians more about our shared country.  We also produce the Heritage Minutes and other programs. If you believe all Canadians should have access to free, impartial, fact-checked, regularly updated information about Canada’s history and culture in both official languages, please consider donating today. All donations above $3 will receive a tax receipt.

Book a Speaker