Like Alexis Contant, Tremblay was one of the few major musicians of his time whose training was exclusively Canadian. Though to some degree self-taught, he wrote works which attracted the attention of Guillaume Couture and Vincent d'Indy. His best-known work, Suite de quatre pièces pour grand orgue (J. Fischer 1924), dedicated to Joseph Bonnet, is noted for its finale, a brilliant toccata. Tremblay also wrote two masses, some motets, and a few patriotic songs. His operetta L'Intransigeant was produced in Ottawa in 1906. With Achille Fortier and Alfred La Liberté, Tremblay was among the first to make concert arrangements of French-Canadian folksongs. His collection, Dix-huit Chansons populaires du Canada was published in 1902 in Ottawa by Orme. Other works were published in Le Passe-Temps and by Archambault.
His son George (b Ottawa 14 Jan 1911, d Tijuana, Mexico, 14 Jul 1982) was a pupil of Arnold Schoenberg in Los Angeles, where he took up residence in 1925, and there founded in 1965 the School for the Discovery and Advancement of New Serial Techniques. George Tremblay's works, which reflect a wide range of influences, include three quartets, three sonatas, and three symphonies, one of which was recorded by the Hamburg SO (CRI S-224). There is a substantial article on his life and works in David Ewen's American Composers, A Biographical Dictionary (New York 1982).
Author Gilles Potvin