Pierre Mollet

Pierre Mollet. Baritone, teacher, organizer, choir conductor, b Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 23 Mar 1920, naturalized Canadian 1974, d Montréal 22 Oct 2007; premier prix performance (Lausanne Cons) 1946. While directing amateur choirs he studied voice at the Lausanne Cons with Charles Panzéra and obtained a second prize at the 1946 Geneva International Competition for Musical Performers. He moved to Paris in 1947, taking courses in interpretation with Nadia Boulanger, with whom he participated in many concerts. Between 1948 and 1962 he made extensive tours in France and North Africa for the JM in addition to being soloist with Parisian orchestras. He took part in several festivals, including those of Strasbourg and Aix-en-Provence, and made his debut in 1952 at the Opéra-Comique in the role of Pelléas (Pelléas et Mélisande). He recorded the role the same year under the direction of Ernest Ansermet (3-London LLA-11/3-Richmond SRS-63013) and later sang the role almost 100 times in major cities of Europe and South America.

Mollet came to Canada in 1967 as a jury member at the JMC (YMC) national competition and as soloist with the Orchestre de la Suisse romande at the World Festival of Expo 67. He settled in Montreal, teaching 1968-78 at the CMM. Christiane Guénette, Gilbert Patenaude, and Cassandra Robertson were among his pupils. He also taught at the JMC Orford Art Centre in 1967, 1968, and 1974, gave many recitals in Quebec devoted to the Lied and to French art song, and performed on the CBC. From 1975 to 1982 he was one of the organizers of the PDA Concerts Midi. Starting in 1978 he co-ordinated the music workshops program 'Musique à venir' designed for the primary and secondary schools of Quebec. In 1980 he founded the Ensemble vocal Arioso, which specializes in repertoire for the male voice with or without accompaniment. In 1985, with the Orchestre métropolitain under the direction of Bernard Jean, Mollet premiered Hiver dans l'âme dedicated to him by its composer André Prévost. The next year he gave its European premiere with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra at the Nyon Festival in Switzerland. In 1990, Mollet was pursuing his career as a recitalist in Quebec and Europe.

In addition to Pelléas et Mélisande, Mollet recorded in Europe works by Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust (Brander's role, 2-DG SLPM-138099-100); by Lili Boulanger: Psaume 129 (Everest SDBR-3059); by Fauré: Pénélope (3-MRF 148-S), Requiem (Nonesuch H-71158) and songs (West XWN-5502); by Gluck: Armide (3-Melodram MEL-154) and Iphigénie en Tauride (Oreste, 2-Vox PLP-7822/OPX-212); by Gounod: Roméo et Juliette (Mercutio, 3-London LLA-18/3-Richmond RS-63024); by Honegger: Une cantate de Noël (London OS-25320/Ace of Diamonds SDD-189) and Le Roi David (under the direction of the composer, West WAL-204/Telefunken HT-7-8); by Frank Martin: In terra pax (London OS-25847) and Golgotha (Mus H Soc MHS-1337-38); and by Ravel: L'Enfant et les sortilèges (The Clock, The Cat, London LLP-1180/Richmond SR-33086).

In 1979 Mollet married the pianist Suzanne Blondin (b Montreal 16 Mar 1950; premier prix CMM 1970), who studied at the CMM with Germaine Malépart and Yvonne Hubert and 1970-3 at the Juilliard School with Sascha Gorodnitzky. Blondin was a concerto soloist in 1969 and 1977 with the MSO, in 1974 with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and in 1988 with the Orchestre métropolitain. She has given recitals in France and in Switzerland and recorded for radio in Strasbourg, Geneva, Lausanne, and Lugano. She has made several tours as Pierre Mollet's accompanist and performed as a soloist and chamber musician for CBC. On an LP devoted to the works of Otto Joachim (1980, RCI 524/6-ACM 14), she recorded L'Éclosion and Nonet with a CBC ensemble. She also recorded Jacques Hétu'sAria for flute and piano with Lise Daoust.

In 2008 the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal gave a memorial concert in his honour at the Centre Pierre Peladeau featuring pianist Suzanne Blondin, contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, tenor Bernard Cayouette and a choir directed by Gilbert Patenaude, among others.

Writings

"Du chant," VM, 19, Mar 1971

Musique d'été: Centre d'art d'Orford, photographs by Mia and Klaus (Montreal 1976)