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George M. Brewer and the Music Scene in Montreal 
during the First Half of the 20th Century

Speakers: Lorne Huston and Marie-Thérèse Lefebvre
When: Thursday, November 18, 2021, 19:30 to 21:00
Where: In virtual mode
Lecture mainly in English with an introduction and a short section of the main presentation in French, followed by a bilingual question period.

2021 11 18GeorgeBrewerPortraitParHolgateResizePortrait of George M. Brewer circa 1929-1930, By Edwin Holgate.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Photograph: Christine Guest.

George M. Brewer (1889-1947) was a fascinating, and now long-forgotten, figure on the music scene in Montreal during the first half of the twentieth century. By profession, he was an organist at the Church of the Messiah as the Unitarian Church of Montreal was known at that time. By inclination, he was a theatre producer – of medieval dramas. But above all, he was an educator. He would perform organ adaptations of music rarely heard in Montreal, music which he discovered and collected on his numerous voyages all over Europe and beyond. And he would not just play the music; he would also talk about it and situate it in its historical, philosophical, and musical context.
His story is interesting enough in itself but it is even more so when we try to understand who was listening to him and who supported him. We discover a rich network of clubs, societies, and associations through which Brewer moved -- in English mainly but also in French. From the Pen & Pencil Club to the Société Casavant, from the Masonic Study Club to the Conservatoire de musique du Québec, Lorne Huston and Marie-Thérèse Lefebvre will introduce us to this lively environment of music lovers in Montreal during the interwar years.


2021 11 18LorneHustonLorne Huston holds a PhD in history from Concordia University and a Master's degree in Sociology from the Université de Montréal. He has been doing research on the history of the arts sector in English Montreal since he retired from active teaching at Cégep Édouard-Montpetit in 2010. In addition to the book he co-authored with Marie-Thérèse Lefebvre on the Montreal musicologist, George M. Brewer, he has also written articles on the Art Association, and on Samuel Morgan-Powell, art and drama critic at the Montreal Daily Star (1913-1953).


2021 11 18Marie ThereseLefebvre PDanielCharpentierMarie-Thérèse Lefebvre, holder of a PhD in musicology from the Université de Montréal, was professor there from 1981 to 2010, Vice-Dean of graduate studies between 1993 and 1998 and Interim Dean in 1997–1998. Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Music of the Université de Montréal and specialist in the history of music-life in Quebec, Marie-Thérèse Lefebvre has published several books and articles on various composers, including Auguste Descarries, Serge Garant, Rodolphe Mathieu, Gilles Tremblay and Jean Vallerand, as well as Chronologie musicale du Québec (1535-2004) (Septentrion, 2009) written in collaboration with Jean-Pierre Pinson.


The book "George M. Brewer et le milieu culturel anglophone montréalais, 1900-1950" written by Lorne Huston and Marie-Thérèse Lefebvre, Éditions Septentrion 2020, can be browsed on the editor’s website: