Neil Chotem led a jazz trio (of which the variable complement included, for a time, the bassist Lucien Gravel and the drummer Donat Gariépy) 1946-8 in a series of CBC Radio broadcasts. In 1952 another Chotem trio and the singer Yvonne Lanauze made the LPs RCI 79 and RCI 80. Soloist on the CBC programs 'Radio-Carabin,' 'The Sunday Night Show,' 'Stardust Serenade,' and 'CBC Star Time,' he also composed and conducted for several CBC radio plays (among them 'The Dybbuk,' 'The World's Illusion,' 'The Trial,' 'A Tribute to Eugene O'Neill,' and the series 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey') and wrote music for the radio dramas directed 1948-50 by Rupert Caplan for 'CBC Wednesday Night.' Between 1950 and 1960 he played several times with the 'Little Symphonies' orchestra and the Concerts Symphoniques de Montréal Orchestra (Montreal Symphony Orchestra) and again with the Toronto Symphony. He also performed Beethoven's Concerto No. 4 with the CBC Symphony Orchestra, played with the McGill Chamber Orchestra, and toured 1950-1 and 1959-60 for Jeunesses musicales of Canada (Youth and Music Canada). He premiered and recorded Claude Champagne's Piano Concerto with the CBC Montreal orchestra (1950, RCI 17/4-ACM 30), and recorded Jean Coulthard's Quebec May for two pianos and choir with Mario Bernardi and the Toronto CBC Choir conducted by Geoffrey Waddington (1951, RCI 35/6-ACM 10). In the 1960s he performed on radio and TV with Maureen Forrester, Claire Gagnier, Félix Leclerc, and Monique Leyrac.
As conductor, Neil Chotem made several recordings with the CBC Montreal orchestra: national anthems (1950, RCI 46), pop song arrangements (1951, RCI 31 and 32), selections from Dolores Claman's musical comedy Timber!! (RCI 119), as well as arrangements of songs from the Maritimes (RCI 152), Canadian regimental marches (RCI 158), and pop songs (RCI 176, 177, 178, 259, and 346, the last exclusively of music by Gordon Lightfoot). As arranger, conductor, and pianist he took part 1955-60 in the CBC broadcasts 'Music from Montreal,' often performing Canadian works (by Robert Farnon, Robert Fleming, Michel Perrault, Eldon Rathburn, etc). He was also conductor for the recording of Marc Huard's Thèmes et mélodies (1974, Céleste MA-2224). Chotem appeared as a guest conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in the summers 1969-72, of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra 1970-2, and of the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
In 1968 Neil Chotem shared a Montreal Festival du disque prize for his contribution to 3=12 (Sel SSP-24.1555), an LP for which he, Paul de Margerie, and Marcel Lévêque alternated as conductors and arrangers. In 1968 he received a prize from the same organization for his arrangement of Jacques Brel's song 'Ne me quitte pas,' as recorded by Renée Claude. The Guilde des musiciens du Québec awarded him its Prix de la Guilde in 1993.
See also The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Camera on Canada, TV. 1963. Orch. Ms. (excerpt) Dom S-1372/Dom LPS-21024/Citadel CT-6011 (Feldbrill)
Lysistrata, musical comedy (Aristophanes, adapted M. Tremblay). 1969. Orch. Ms
Raven, radio. 1971. Orch. Ms
Pythagore 1 à 7, TV ballet. 1975. Orch. Ms
Scherzo Tarantelle. 1936. Pf, orch. Ms
Rhapsody on El Vito, Spanish folk tunes. Arr 1963. Pf, timpani, percussion, string orch. Ms
Salute to Expo, chansons by S. Venne and tunes by Chotem. Arr 1967. Ms
Son et lumière/Sound and Light. 1967. Ms
Saskatoon Berry Rock. 1975. Ms
Rhapsodie québécoise. 1980. Orch. Ms
Images gaspésiennes. 1981. Orch. Ms
Prelude in E Flat Minor. 1932. Ms
Prelude in B Flat Minor. 1935. Ms
Prelude in A Minor. 1946. Ms
Fuguey Wooguey. 1947. Ms
3 Slow Waltzes. 1972. Ms
Pterodactyl. 1974. Pf (piano, orch). Ms
Ad infinitum. 1978. Ms
Bleuets verts. 1970. Orch. Ms
Narcisse. 1971. Orch. Ms
Le Jazz et la Java, arr of Brubeck. Nd. Honky-tonk piano, harpsichord, piano, orch. Ms
Opus minus. Nd. Pf, orch. Ms
Slow Rock. Nd. Orch. Ms
Snake Eyes. Nd. Orch. Ms
Also 3 works for voice and instr ensemble on texts by Michel Conte: Et bye bye; Je resterai tout seul; Je veux
Other works, arrangements and orchestrations catalogued in 1984 by Françoise Riopelle in Rental Catalogue of Selected Works by Neil Chotem, vol 1.
Music with Neil Chotem. 1960. CBC MBS-4192-4193
Neil Chotem Plays the Songs of Gordon Lightfoot. 1972. RCI 346
Vers L'Infini. 1978. Kébek-disc KD 953
Neil Chotem Live au El Casino. 1979. CBS PFC 80034
Hommage à la Pavlova. Quebec Symphony Orchestra, Chotem piano, L. Garnier-Lesage violin. SMCD 5048
Neil Chotem: Works. 199?. WRC 5-3004
Pianoganini - Neil Chotem: One Piano Six Hands. 2001. Quarry Lane
Author Pierre Rochon, Suzanne Thomas
Campbell, Francean. 'Neil Chotem,' Canadian Composer, 47, Feb 1970
Petrowski, Nathalie. 'How helping Harmonium inspired this composer,' Canadian Composer, 134, Oct 1978
Beaulieu, Pierre. 'Neil Chotem: l'émotion d'abord,' Montreal La Presse, 25 Nov 1978
Petrowski, Nathalie. 'Neil Chotem, le huitième...,' Montreal Le Devoir, 26 Jan 1980
Music Master (NFB 1952)
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A 1951 photograph of composer, conductor and concert pianist Neil Chotem in performance. From the National Film Board of Canada.
How High the Moon
A video clip of pianist Neil Chotem performing the jazz standard “How High the Moon.” From the National Film Board of Canada website.