Michel Gervais | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Michel Gervais

Michel (Marc) Gervais. Conductor, b McLennan, northern Alberta, 25 Ap 1955; B MUS (Alberta) 1978.

Gervais, Michel

Michel (Marc) Gervais. Conductor, b McLennan, northern Alberta, 25 Ap 1955; B MUS (Alberta) 1978. Following studies at the University of Alberta with Ernesto Lejeno (piano) and Jean Létourneau (voice), he studied choral conducting at the Wiener Meisterkursen of Austria with Eric Ericson, becoming his assistant conductor 1978-80 at the Swedish Radio Choir, the Royal Academy of Music Choir, the Stockholm Chamber Choir and at the Orpheï Dränger men's choir of Uppsala. In 1976 he participated in master classes at the Banff SFA (Banff CA) with Léopold Simoneau, Pierrette Alarie and Jean Létourneau. He then pursued his training, in particular, with Leonard Bernstein, John Eliot Gardiner, Carlo Maria Giulini, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Andrew Parrott and Trevor Pinnock. In Edmonton he founded and directed 1980-6 the Schola Cantorum and the ConSept Vocal Ensemble, and 1980-8 the Pro Coro Canada choir, and then settled in Paris. In 1988 he was entrusted with the establishment of the Maîtrise nationale de Versailles. This project consisted of setting up a mixed choir of 18 singers and a choir of 24 boys as well as planning a weekly program of performances at the Royal Chapel of the Château de Versailles, to give importance to Renaissance cathedral repertoire in the 20th century. Gervais has conducted, among others, the Choeurs de Radio France, the New College Choir of Oxford, the Elmer Iseler Singers of Toronto, the Tudor Singers of Montreal, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. In 1990 he was made a member of the Conseil national des enseignements supérieurs de la musique et de la danse au Ministère de la Culture and de la Communication de France. The following year, he was appointed choirmaster at the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, a post which he was to assume in the spring of 1992. Gervais is a Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et lettres de France.