A Canadian composer, pianist, ondist and teacher born September 6, 1932 in Arvida (Canada), who died July 27, 2017 in Montréal.
A pianist, Gilles Tremblay entered the Montreal Conservatory where he studied composition with Claude Champagne. He continued his apprenticeship at the École Normale de Musique and the Paris Conservatory, notably with Olivier Messiaen. He studied the piano, the ondes Martenot, attended the summer classes of Darmstadt, where he met Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez and Henri Pousseur, and initiated himself into electroacoustic techniques in a course with Pierre Schaeffer at the ORTF. In the course of a study journey in the Far East he absorbed the melodies of Java, Bali and the percussion of China and India.
A committed artiste of religious faith, he has undertaken a quest for meaning, ever taking into consideration the sacred dimension of a work of art and introducing many religious references into his works. His heightened awareness of the nature of sound has led him to investigate tone-colour, of which he is ceaselessly pushing back the limits, exploiting breathing, the rhythms of the instruments and recreating the sounds of nature and the power of the elements.
He has composed for solo instruments: Musiques de l’eau for piano (2008); for instrumental ensembles: Compostelle I (commissioned by the French state, first performed by the ensemble 2e2m in 1978); for voices: Vêpres de la Vierge for chorus and ensemble (1986), Avec, Wampum symphonique for soprano, reciter, chorus and orchestra (1992), À quelle heure commence le temps? a lyrical monodrama for baritone, percussion and orchestra (commissioned by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, 1999); as well as for orchestra: Fleuves (1976, first performed by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal), Vers le Soleil (commissioned by Radio France and premiered by the Nouvel Orchestre Symphonique in 1978), Les Pierres crieront for cello and orchestra (1998, premiered by the Orchestre National de France).
Also a pedagogue, Tremblay taught analysis and composition at the conservatories of Quebec and Montreal.