Guido Molinari, Red Rectangular, 1959, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 144 cm (collection of the Guido Molinari Foundation)

Joachim, Otto : Quatuor (1997)

The String Quartet (1997) of Otto Joachim found its inspiration after a visit to Seoul, Korea where Joachim was active as a violin instructor for the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra.

Joachim's return to Asia in 1977, after having earlier lived in Malaysia and China for 16 years, renewed his interest in music from that region. The Quartet evokes Korean sounds and embraces dodecaphonic and aleatoric structures. Originally conceived as a String Trio, Joachim finally opted to complete the work as a String quartet. It was premiered by the Molinari Quartet on March 10 2000 in Montreal.

This is actually Joachim’s fourth quartet. One written in the mid-thirties and another from the fifties have been "disinherited" and they are resting in the "Otto Joachim" archives at the National Library of Canada.

Centre musique canadienne and Olga Ranzenhofer

Access to score:

Canadian Music Center :

Otto Joachim (1910-2010)

Born in Germany in 1910, violinist, violist and composer Otto Joachim is well known to Montrealers. Former principal viola of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra he was also a founding member of the Montreal String Quartet.

As a professor at McGill University Montreal Conservatory, Joachim formed many Quebec musicians. Joachim’s works, based on dodecaphonism and serialism as well as his interest in electroacoustic music, have made him one of the pillars of contemporary music in Quebec.

He was the first Quebec composer to have a private electroacoustic studio of his own. He wrote Katimavik a work for four track tape for the Canadian pavillion of Expo 1967 in Montreal.

A multidisciplinary artist, Joachim also pursued activities as a painter. Following his interests in ancient music, he founded in 1958 the Montreal Consort of Ancient Instruments Everyone who knew Otto Joachim keeps memorable souvenirs. His personal journey, his anecdotes, his curiosity, his great culture, his unfailing ear, and his avant-gardism, have made of him one of the most extraordinary musical figures Quebec has known.

Centre musique canadienne and Olga Ranzenhofer

otto joachim

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Photographe : Guy L’Heureux