Tremblay, Gilles (1932--) By Lefebvre, Marie-Thérèse
Composer and musical pedagogue Gilles Tremblay made significant contributions to the development of musical composition in Quebec in the second half of the twentieth century. After studying at the Montreal Conservatory (Conservatoire de Musique du Québec à Montréal), he attended workshops at the Marlboro School of Music (Vermont) in the summers of 1950, 1951, and 1953. He lived in Paris from 1954 to 1961, where he enrolled in the piano studio of Yvonne Loriod, took analysis courses with Olivier Messiaen, attended workshops on Ondes Martenot, and received counterpoint lessons with Andrée Vaurabourg-Honegger. Tremblay attended the Darmstadt International Summer Courses in 1957 and 1960, and worked at the GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales) led by Pierre Schaeffer. Involved at this time with the networks of French new music, he frequently met with Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Iannis Xénakis.
In 1961 Tremblay returned to Quebec and was appointed professor of analysis and composition at the Montreal Conservatory, a position he occupied until his retirement in 1997. His courses at the Conservatory were inspired by Messiaen’s famous analysis class in Paris. Tremblay found connections between master works of Western music that linked the past to the present, from Gregorian chants to the polyphony of Guillaume de Machaut, Monteverdi, and Mozart, through to the twentieth century. His courses were extremely influential to two or three generations of composers in Quebec.