Gilles Tremblay

(1932 - 2017)

Born in 1932 in Arvida (Quebec), Gilles Tremblay studied at the Montreal Conservatory from 1949 until 1954. His meeting with Varèse in New York, in 1952, had a great impact on him. Between 1954 and 1961, he completed his studies in Paris with Yvonne Loriod and in Messiaen’s classes at the Conservatoire national supérieur de Paris. During this time, he was a trainee at the ORTF’s Groupe de Recherche Musicale, directed by Pierre Schaeffer. There, he also met Boulez, Stockhausen, Xenakis, and Cage.

Back in Montreal, he dove head first into the city’s musical world, getting his works performed, teaching at the Montreal Conservatory, and becoming involved with several national and international institutions, including the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ). In 1972, he spent several months in the Far East, namely in Korea, Java, and Bali.

Experimentation has always been at the heart of his music, in particular through the importance given to the acoustical properties of natural resonances; “mobiles,” “reactions/reflexes,” periods of time during which the composer uses “breath-durations,” “resonance-durations,” and “bow-durations” — these various forms of duration serve to expand the sound texture. Yet, beyond all these techniques, the essence can be summed up with a single word: poetry.

His works include: …Le sifflement des vents porteurs de l’amour…; Fleuves; Les Vêpres de la Vierge; AVEC, wampum symphonique; L’arbre de Borobudur; L’espace du cœur (Miron-Machaut); Les pierres crieront; L’infiniment petit; Chants convergents (Ansari, Hillesum, d’Avila).

In 1991, he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.