Moisan Quartet/Quatuor Moisan
Moisan Quartet/Quatuor Moisan. Clarinet quartet founded in 1977 with the support of the Montreal Musicians' Guild and made up of members belonging to the same family. Gilles Moisan, bass clarinet and principal saxophone of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, was joined by his sons, André, Gilles, and Gilbert. Despite the youth of three of its members (who were 13, 15, and 17 years old in 1977), the ensemble showed from the outset a refinement, dexterity, and maturity that established its reputation. Jeannette Moisan, the wife of Gilles, acted as the manager. In 1978 the ensemble won several prizes at the competition of the Fédération des harmonies du Québec. In 1980, the quartet, under the aegis of the Jeunesses Musicales of Canada (Youth and Music Canada), made a tour across Canada. In addition to numerous engagements on radio and television, it recorded an LP in 1982 that included many of the works from its repertoire (Jany J-8201).
The various clarinets used (from the contrabass clarinet to the piccolo clarinet) allowed for a particularly varied repertoire that included, in addition to numerous transcriptions ranging from baroque music to jazz, compositions specially written for the quartet. These include Lucio Agostini's Trio québécois, Nick Ayoub's Moisan Blues, Henry Matthews's Ode to the Licorice Stick, and works by François Dompierre, Pierre-Max Dubois, Lee Gagnon, and Herbert Ruff. In 1988 the Moisan family took up residence on Île-aux-Coudres (an island in the St Lawrence River near Baie St-Paul) , where they gave concerts, before disbanding permanently. André Moisan went on to a career as soloist and chamber musician.