In the next several months, you'll be able to visit this section for a quarterly review of what's new, what's hot, and what's trending this season. But for now, we thought it best to get started with a history of the discipline's deep roots in Quebec's Anglo arts community. The following essay can be read in its complete, interactive form at the RAEV.ca website, as well as in the book Minority Report: An Alternative History of English-Language Arts in Quebec, published by Guernica Editions in 2011.
THE ROOTS OF MONTREAL MUSIC
By Dimitri Nasrallah
During the past twenty years, Montreal has once again established its credentials on the international scene as a world-class breeding ground for all manner of forward-thinking musicians. One could argue that the story of Montreal's contemporary music scene - and here we'll define contemporary music in a much broader sense, as recordable music - began a century earlier, when the German-born developer of the gramophone Emile Berliner first moved to Montreal in 1897. In 1899, Berliner opened the Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada in Montreal. It was the first such record pressing plant in North America. The Berliner Gram-o-phone Company was housed in the Aqueduct Street building of Northern Electric, on the western edges of St-Henri.
By the following year, the pressing plant was also marketing records and had opened several record stores around the city to sell their wares. Berliner's main business involved the manufacturing of foreign-made records for the Canadian market - mostly of the classical, choir, opera, and popular variety - but by 1906, the plant had also opened its own recording studio and was releasing original music. As the operation grew, Berliner Gramophone moved to a larger facility on Lacasse St. in St- Henri - what is today better known as the RCA Victor Building.
The presence of the Berliner company in St-Henri meant that touring artists could perform at one of Montreal's ve...
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