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About Calixa Lavallee

The serious compositions of this Canadian composer have been lost; accordingly it is difficult to ascertain an appropriate description of his merit. Lavallee composed the music for the national anthem of Canada and his comic opera "The Wiow" was successful in the United States. His piano piece, "Le papillon," (the butterfly) was popular for many decades in Europe and North America. The melodic creativiy of Lavallee was hailed as his forte. Early musical training came in Montreal at St Hyacinthe. He was more than capable on the piano, cornet and violin, traveled throuhout the Americas in various theatres and returned to Montreal in 1872. There his friends raised money on his behalf so that he could attend the Paris Conservatoire and finish his studies. He was a pupil of Bazin, Marmontel and the younger Boieldieu. Lavallee's dream and desire was to effectively develope the musical talent of Canada but he was not able to convince the officials to establish a conservatory. Lavallee received recognition and acclaim in the United States where he also became president of the Music Teacher's National Asociation in 1886. ~ Keith Johnson