BIOGRAPHY

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Mathieu Debaar 

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Georges Dubois 

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 Mathieu DEBAAR (Pepinster 1895 - Verviers 1954)

MATHIEU DEBAARMathieu Debaar was born in 1895 in Cornesse near Pepinster and he died at a relatively young age, in 1954 in Verviers. After excellent secondary school studies completed at the Atheneum of Verviers, he undertook to study music first at the Conservatoire in Verviers and then at the Conservatoire in Liège where he learned, successfully, mastering the violin, the oboe, harmony and chamber music. He had hardly left the Conservatoire when he went to work already and started playing in orchestras, in particular in Metz, Spa, Ostend and Mondorf. Quite some time before he was appointed to the Conservatoire in Verviers, he undertook his actual career by taking part in numerous concerts.

His career as a violinist allowed him to perform numerous works as a soloist, also the concertos of Vieuxtemps and of Glazounov. The latter brought him a medal in the class of Mathieu Crickboom at the Conservatoire in Liège. It was in the field of chamber music where his natural unobtrusiveness, his reserved manner and the quality of his feelings appear at their best. During World War I, Mathieu Debaar founded a string quartet, together with Messrs. Dengis, Guilleaume and Wetzels. About ten years later, his partners were Messrs. Schneider, Fléron and Larue. These artists undertook to perform the major works of the classical and modern repertoire. A third quartet set up during World War II, with Messrs. Grosjean, Paulus and Hurard, had the purpose of organizing concerts intended for young people who had become somewhat disordered by the war and of having them rediscover the genuine wealth of the works of art.

As the head of the orchestra, he conducted many concerts for the Schola of Verviers and the Harmony Society. He was also the choir conductor at the Schola of Verviers which was, originally, a mixed choir. In this field, his activity was never more fertile as at the "Chanterie", a mixed choir group founded during the war. This choir organized in 1944 a concert to the memory of the 50th anniversary of the death of Guillaume Lekeu. At this concert and with Mathieu Debaar conducting, the following works were performed: the "Andromède" cantata, the "Chant de triomphale délivrance", the "Adagio pour quatuor d'orchestre" and the "Fantaisie sur deux airs populaires angevins"

At the Music Conservatoire in Verviers where he became an appointed professor in 1923, Mathieu Debaar taught the violin and solfeggio. He discovered there an audience that was worthy of his knowledge. In this establishment directed at that time by Albert Dupuis, he taught his students the very best of his culture and of his experience. At this school, he left the memory of a highly respected teacher.

In 1934, Mathieu Debaar was appointed a professor at the Teachers' Training College. The entire atmosphere was somewhat different here : the future teachers were poorly prepared for any artistic teaching and they frequently considered music to be just some insignificant diversion. For the benefit of his students, Mathieu Debaar then published a Summary of the History of Music, soon to be followed by a History of the Violin and by a History of the Piano. He also designed - for the benefit of the solfeggio courses - a Treaty of the Chords and, toward the end of his life, he meditated over a History of the String Quartet.

After his excellent studies in harmony, Mathieu Debaar was naturally tempted by composing. As a composer, he enjoyed the benefit - via Guillaume Lekeu - of the influence of the Schola Cantorum which he had assimilated and adjusted to his own sensitivity as a Walloon artist. He wrote for musical groups of all kinds, in any and all styles. He turned to the voices as well as to the orchestra and to a variety of string or wind instruments, without ever departing from his habitual talent.

Mathieu Debaar has left, among other works, one Concerto for violin and orchestra, one Trio in D minor for violin, cello and piano, one Sonata for trumpet and piano, one "Legende et Caprice" for trombone and piano, one "Piece concertante" for tuba and piano, one "Impromptu" for flute and orchestra (or piano) and one "Suite pour Trio d'Anches" for oboe, clarinet and bassoon.

Philippe Bayard (d'après R. Michel)
Translated by Luc Van Loock





 





  

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