Brunet, Noël

Noël (Armand) Brunet. Violinist, teacher, b Montreal 25 Dec 1916, d Chicoutimi, Que, 11 Aug 1973; premier prix (Royal Cons of Brussels) 1939. After violin study with his brother Henri he trained with Alfred De Sève. Brunet was five times a scholarship winner at the McGill Cons, where his studies continued with Maurice Onderet. Brunet won the Prix d'Europe in 1936 and studied at the Royal Cons in Brussels with Alfred Dubois, a pupil of Ysaÿe. Further study was supported by a scholarship in 1938 from the AMQ. In the conservatory examinations of 1939 Brunet won the Adolphe Canler Prize and, after a performance of the Brahms and Sibelius concertos, a prize for virtuosity. He also received the gold medal of King Léopold III. He made his professional debut in the same year in a performance of the Beethoven concerto with the Royal Cons orchestra. He then gave recitals throughout Belgium and in the Netherlands.

Returning in 1939 to Montreal, he began an active career in Canada and the USA, at the same time studying further with Theodore and Alice Pashkus in New York and with Joseph Szigeti in California. Brunet opened the 1944-5 SCSM season with the Glazunov Concerto, and in 1945 he played the 19 mature Mozart sonatas with John Newmark for CBC broadcast. He made JMC tours 1949-50, 1954-5.

Several composers wrote major works for Brunet, and he in turn guaranteed their compositions a premiere, a recording, and performances in Canada and abroad. Such works included Jean Papineau-Couture'sSonata in G and Concerto, Alexander Brott'sConcerto, and Jean Vallerand'sSonata. After he played the Brott Concerto at Carnegie Hall on 16 Oct 1953 under Stokowski, during a concert of Canadian music, critic Miles Kastendieck of the New York Journal-American described Brunet as 'a first-class fiddler'. In 1953 Brunet gave numerous concerts in European centres, including Paris, London, Rome, and Bonn, and in 1953 and 1954 he took part in chamber music concerts at the Montreal Festivals. In 1955 he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts. He visited Montreal as a juror for the 1966 International Violin Competition and taught violin 1967-9 at the Cons de Trois-Rivières and 1969-73 at the Cons de Chicoutimi, where he was acting head 1972-3. His pupils included Gilles Baillargeon, Langis Breton, John Charuk, Jasmine Perron, Gérald Sergent, and Jacques Verdon.

Brunet's playing displayed to a high degree the qualities of the Franco-Belgian school in which he had been trained: beautiful tone, elegant phrasing, accurate intonation and technical precision.