Claude Vivier

(1948 - 1983)

Claude Vivier was born on April 14th, 1948 in Montréal, and studied composition with Gilles Tremblay and piano with Irving Heller at the Conservatory there. He subsequently went to Europe to study composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen and electronic music with Gottfried Michael Koening and Hans Ulrich Humpert.

He obtained several grants from The Canada Council and was named "Composer of the Year" by the Canadian Music Council in 1981.

The two years of study with Stockhausen revealed a musical personality with a strong predilection for monody and for writing for the voice (solo and choral). It also began to show the importance Vivier was to place on texts and unveiled a style of writing that was to stray progressively farther from the usual contemporary music trends to become more and more personal and transparent.

In 1977 Claude Vivier undertook a long journey to Asia and the Middle East. This trip had a significant influence on his writing. The great variety of musical influences he received had the effect, paradoxically, of purifying his own musical expression. Melody gradually occupies a foremost position in his works and his concept of music as being an integral part of daily life is confirmed.

Following a few years of teaching in Montréal, Claude Vivier devoted his time entirely to composition. He was writing a piece prophetically titled "Do you believe in the immortality of the soul", when he died in Paris the 7th of March 1983.

He left some forty works characterized by one of the most personal and expressive styles in the evolution of Canadian music.