Léon Bernier

Léon Bernier. Pianist, accompanist, conductor, arranger, composer, teacher, born Hull, Que, 6 Sep 1936; died at Longueuil, 11 October 2011; premier prix piano (CMQ) 1954. He studied with Hélène Landry at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec (CMQ). He won several awards during the early 1950s and often appeared at young people's concerts with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He won the 1955 Prix d'Europe and studied until 1958 at the Santa Cecilia Cons of Rome with Renzo Silvestri. After his return to Québec City he conducted and worked as an arranger for radio and TV orchestras. In 1962 he founded the 125-member drum and bugle corps Les Diplomates (which won several competitions) and an 18-member jazz band. He was music director 1964-72 for Ginette Reno, and his arrangements for the singer's LP Ginette Reno (GPS-3301) won the Grand prix du disque at the Festival du disque in 1968.

Moving in 1969 to Montréal, Bernier continued his work as conductor, arranger, music director, or pianist on the CBC TV series "Les Coqueluches," "Allo Boubou," "Zoum," and "Les Démons du midi." He also directed summer concert series 1970-2 at the Place des Arts (PDA). In 1974 he reorchestrated (for 12 players) Claude Léveillée's musical play Il est une saison (1965) and wrote scores for the CBC TV dramas Edna, Le Vélo devant la porte, Pâques, Le Misanthrope, and Coup de sang, and for several TV serials (Gilles Richer's "Poivre et sel," and Victor Lévy Beaulieu's "Race de monde" and "L'Héritage"). He also wrote incidental music for Jean Duceppe's productions of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Le Dernier des Don Juan, and Les Après-midis d'Émilie. Bernier composed the music for three musical plays performed at the Théâtre de Marjolaine: Un Simple Mariage double, Le Gros lot, and Tournez chevaux de bois. He taught accompaniment at Laval University and conducted the Stage Band at the University of Montreal, and began teaching pop music (piano) at Music at University of Québec (UQAM) in 1990.