Canadian Baritone, Bernard Turgeon

Bernard Turgeon


 BERNARD TURGEON (1931-2016) my father, was born in Edmonton, Alberta.   His mother was a pianist/organist, and his father, a Police Officer. He had four siblings and all had voice and piano lessons in their early years. At age 19, he won a scholarship to study voice with George Lambert at the Conservatory of Music in Toronto and that same year, shared first prize in the CBC voice competition "Singing Stars of Tomorrow". He excelled in Hermann Geiger-Torel's Opera School productions and soon was performing in the Toronto Opera Company productions and giving recitals throughout eastern Canada.  He furthered his studies in Vienna with the help of a Canada Council grant in 1959 after success the preceding summer in the premiere performances of the Vancouver International Festival and returned to perform in subsequent years. In1961 was invited to the Glyndebourne Festival Opera productions in Sussex, UK and the same year received a contract with Sadlers Wells Opera in London with performances also in Scotland and Wales. In 1967 in Toronto he sang the title role in "Louis Riel" an opera written by Canadian composer Harry Somers.  In 1979 this same production was televised by CBC.  Years later the same production was staged in Kennedy Centre in New York City.  He has performed major roles in major Opera Houses in Canada, the USA, Great Britain and Europe.  He did two six week tours performing in major cities in the Soviet Union including the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow in 1971/1972.  In 1969 he returned to Edmonton to develop a voice/opera programme in the voice department at the U of Alberta. Over many summers spent teaching at the Banff School of Fine Arts, a Voice/Opera programme was also solidified by the mid 70/s.  In 1978 he moved to

 Victoria BC and at UVic. began developing a similar programme there and in the early 80's developed a similar programme at McGill University (Montreal PQ).  In 2000 my father retired and with his wife Teresa, moved back to their home in Victoria, where he continued his craft as a teacher and clinician.

 Music and the Arts were the basis of our lives as young children. My two siblings and I studied piano, violin, voice, flute, ballet, painting and percussion instruments.It was just something we all did, without question,and now as adults, can appreciate and treasure the gifts that music and art have given us.