Bernard R. Laberge

Bernard R. Laberge (La Berge, LaBerge). Impresario, organist, pianist, critic, b Quebec City 11 Oct 1891, naturalized US 1940, d New York 28 Dec 1951. He studied at the Séminaire de Rimouski, NB, and at Laval University. Called to the bar in 1918, he opened a law office in Montreal and at the same time studied organ and piano and wrote music criticism for the newspaper Le Canada. After reviewing a concert by the tenor Paul Dufault he was asked by Dufault to organize (1919) a trans-Canada tour, which he did in association with Henry Michaud.

Laberge opened an agency in Montreal afterwards, and by 1926 the Administration Bogue-Laberge also had an office in New York. In collaboration with Pro-Musica, a society founded by the pianist E. Robert Schmitz in New York in 1920, Laberge brought to North America the composers Honegger, Milhaud, Prokofiev, Ravel, Respighi, Schmitt, Tansman, and several others until 1932.

It was, however, in the field of organ and chamber concerts that Laberge was a true pioneer. He organized tours by the European organists Joseph Bonnet, Charles Courboin, Marcel Dupré (who played the entire organ works of Bach in 10 Montreal recitals during 1923 ), Fernando Germani, André Marchal, Flor Peeters, Günther Ramin, Louis Vierne, and Carl Weinrich. He also sponsored recitals by North American organists, including the Canadian Bernard Piché. Among the chamber ensembles which toured North America for Laberge were the Hungarian, Paganini, Pascal, Pro Arte, and Roth quartets, the Nuovo Quartetto Italiano, the Pasquier Trio, the Belgian Piano Quartet, and the Pro Musica Antiqua of Brussels.

Laberge managed the pianists Clara Haskil, Yvonne Hubert, Léo-Pol Morin, Ross Pratt, Édouard Risler, and E. Robert Schmitz; the violinist Mischa Elman; the cellist Marcel Hubert; the harpist Marcel Grandjany; and the singers Jean Riddez and Vladimir Rosing.

At Laberge's death the business was acquired by the US impresario Henry Colbert, who continued it until 1962 under the name Colbert-LaBerge Concert Management.

Laberge was married to the New York organist Claire Coci. His brother Dominique was music critic for La Patrie. In 1951 Laberge was decorated with the cross of a Knight of the Crown of Belgium.