Donald Patriquin was born on October 21, 1938, in Sherbrooke, Quebec. His love for music became particularly evident when he started to compose songs at the age of eleven. Although his passion for music never waned, he took a detour when he finished a biology course at Bishop’s University in 1959. In 1964, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music at McGill University but completed his Master’s Degree in Music Composition in University of Toronto. He also earned his Associate in Music Degree from McGill University and received a Royal Canadian College of Organists diploma in organ performance.
His student years at McGill University were under the tutelage of Istvan Anhalt, a naturalized Canadian who traces his grassroots to Budapest. Anhalt was a survivor of World War II and migrated to Canada in 1949 where he became popular for his contributions to music. Patriquin looked up to Anhalt as can be proven by an article he wrote in commemoration of McGills 150th anniversary. He describes his professor as someone who “managed to instill a love for that purest of all music – folk melody – without having to introduce it” to him directly.
He believes that it was the professor who helped him learn life-long skills as his approach to the study of composition was through intricate analysis of the works of masters coupled with a lot of listening and creative assignments. He remembers a Monday when he had to submit a composition to Anhalt but knew it was a bad one because he could not seem to summon enough ingenuity when he worked so hard on it throughout the weekend. He tried playing it on the piano but opened up to Anhalt regarding his frustration because his composition still sounded very horrible despite his efforts.
Anhalt confirmed that the composition was terrible and told him, “But now you know vat you don’t vant to write! ” Patriquin realized that Anhalt was right. There is nothing wrong with giving up on a creative lead that one saw has great potential but could not seem to develop well. A quick break and starting all over again can usually produce better results. This lesson of learning to move on from a failure, according to Patriquin, was the best thing he ever learned from Anhalt. His Masters Degree in Music Composition at the University of Toronto was under the tutelage of John Weinzwig.
The professor was a Polish immigrant who learned how to play the mandolin at age 14. Weinzwig and his brother usually rendered songs to the public for pocket money but at the age of 19, he decided he really wanted to become a composer. He is also an alumnus of the University of Toronto and is the first to explore the serial technique using a 12-tone row for Canadian music. This tenacity to create new concepts in music is probably one of the greatest lessons that Patriquin absorbed because he is not afraid to initiate developments in the music industry.
He became a professor in McGill University for thirty years. He taught theory, musicianship and arranging to students and ensembles. Working within an academic institution gave him the opportunity to use its extensive library and research about folk music. Although one could not find any resource as to how he got side tracked to biology, there is a possibility that the chance to study science honed his skill in research and experimentation, which, he was able to apply to his music as he composed and arranged many songs during his stay in the university.
Although no student is recorded to be as great as their teacher, Professor Patriquin, through his popularity, may have been able to give his students more exposure and chances to perform their own music in public. Mr. Patriquin is well known particularly for his choral and instrumental arrangements of folk music. His output includes many short and extended choral and instrumental works, liturgical settings, a piano concerto, works for voice and piano, music for theater and ballet, and mixed media. Patriquin’s works frequently make use of folk music elements and abstract noises recalling sounds of nature.
Canadian traditional music is vast because of the richness of its European origin including British and French culture. Anglo-Canadian folksongs can be learned in Western Quebec and Southern Ontario. People in the northern part of Ontario, however, have more French influence in their history and have kept the folk music of France alive amongst them. Other places in Canada have kept other cultural songs of Scottish, Icelandic, Ukrainian, Polish and Hungarian origins. Patriquin loved to research for these traditional music, lullabies and stories and bring new life to them using folk music instruments.
These two factors are the reasons why his music can truly be considered Canadian. One of the awards he received was first prize from the New York Melodious Accord Biennial Composition Search for New Choral Music. His entry, Antiphon and the Child of Mary, was based on a not so famous Newfoundland carol that he was able to dig into while continuing his interests in Canadian folk music. Patriquin likes making arrangements using Canadian folk instruments like the fiddle and harp. His “Hangman’s Reel,” is a ballet score commissioned by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
The music shows Patriquin’s Quebec origins because of its use of the American and Irish fiddle. The score was originally written for famous Quebec fiddler, Jean Carignan, who is also known as a leader in Celtic traditional fiddle music. The most important pieces that he had created is his large-scale compositions such as the Earthpeace I and II ( recorded by The Gerald Danovitch Saxophone Quartet and pianists Luba and Ireneus Zuk), Celebration For The Planet Earth, and the Requiem at Sea have earned him a reputation as a composer whose music addresses many concerns.
His music is available on CDs and sometimes radio; his choral music is published by A Tempo and Canadian International Music in Canada, and Earthsongs in the USA. His major choral works include Six Songs of Early Canada (still one of his more popular works), Songs of Innocence, A Child’s Carol, World Music Suite One, “Caribbean Mass” (based on the traditions and instruments of the Caribbean) and Canadian Mosaic (a suite of Canadian folk-based music reflecting the origins and variety of Canada’s immigrant populations).
Other works for voice is Cycles, a setting for soprano, piano and clarinet of Frank Scott’s poetry dealing primarily with Canada’s Northern Shield, and Louisa’s Story. After all this contributions in music, Mr. Patriquin is now living in his native Eastern Townships of Quebec, where he is finding more time to perform, conduct, compose, produce and publish. Bibliography “ANNEX 1- DONALD PATRIQUIN. ” Promomuse. 2000. Sunnymead. Viewed 7 Oct 2007, <http://www. sunnymead. org/promomuse/annex. html>. “Donald Patriquin. ” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 13 Jun 2007, 15:26 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Viewed 7 Oct 2007, <http://en.
wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=Donald_ Patriquin&oldid=137914857>. Donald, Patriquin. “Bibliography. ” Viewed 7 Oct 2007, <http://www. donaldpatriquin. zzzcom/index. htm>. “Education and Early Career. ” The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2007. Viewed 16 November 2007, <http://www. thecanadianencyclopedia. com/index. cfm? PgNm=TCE&Params= U1SEC883941>. Elliot, Robin and Gordon E. Smith. “Istvan Anhalt Pathways and Memory. ” McGill-Queen’s University Press. 2007. Viewed 17 November 2007, <http://mqup. mcgill. ca/book. php? bookid=757> “Folk Music, Franco Canadian. ” The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2007. Viewed 16 November 2007,
< http://www. thecanadianencyclopedia. com/index. cfm? PgNm=TCE&Params= A1ARTA0002879>. Jean-Pascal Vachon, Evan Ware. “Patriquin, Donald. ” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation, 2007. Viewed 7 Oct 2007, < http://thecanadianencyclopedia. com/index. cfm? PgNm=TCE&Params=U1ARTU0002737 > Patriquin, Donald. “A Lesson for Life. ” McGill University. 2007. Viewed 16 October 2007, <http://www. alumni. mcgill. ca/? id=MjgxNA%3D%3D> “Weinzweig’s First Use of Serialism. ” The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2007. Viewed 16 November 2007, < http://www. thecanadianencyclopedia. com/index. cfm? PgNm=TCE&Params =U1SEC883941>.