Maryvonne Kendergi 1915-2011

1988 Cultural Cultural

Teacher, musicographer, pianist and commentator, Maryvonne Kendergi is Armenian in origin, born in Aintab in 1915. She became a Canadian citizen in 1960.

In 1937, on a grant from the Syrian government, she studied at the École normale de musique de Paris, obtaining a degree in piano performance in 1938. In 1939-40, she entered the Sorbonne’s Institut d'art et d'archéologie and received her teaching licence from the university in 1940 and a licence in literature in 1941.

From 1946 to 1952, Maryvonne Kendergi appeared often in concert and became a promoter of cultural activities in the Cité universitaire de Paris; she helped launch the Jeunesses musicales de France (1946), organized concerts and meetings as the coordinator for the Maison internationale (1948-1952) and founded the Cité universitaire de Paris music club in 1950.

From 1952 to 1956, she was a radio host and general arts teacher in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan.

In 1956, she settled in Montréal and became a Radio-Canada commentator, specializing in shows on music and culture. On hand for most European festivals from 1957 to 1963, she conducted over 200 interviews with major names in contemporary music.

Ms. Kendergi began teaching at Université de Montréal in 1967, introducing Canadian music as an academic subject and creating the Musialogues (1969).

Her many titles and roles include being a founding member and organizer of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec in 1966, as well as its president in 1973, a member of the editorial board for The Canada Music Book (1970), chair of the committee (Canadian section) of the International Society for Contemporary Music beginning in 1973, chair of the Canadian Music Council and vice-chair of the Canada Council for the Arts beginning in 1977.

In 1980, Ms. Kendergi became the first chair of the Association pour l'avancement de la recherche en musique du Québec and was made a member of the Order of Canada. In 1983, she received the Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Maryvonne Kendergi was promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992 and the same year received an honorary doctorate from McGill University.

In 2002, the book Maryvonne Kendergi, la musique en partage by Louise Bail was published by the Éditions HMH Hurtubise, based on the artist’s journal and memoires.

Maryvonne Kendergi was a member of the board for the Ordre from 1986 to 1993 and was its chair in 1993 and 1994. She was made a member of the academy of Great Montrealers in 1988.
Source: Ordre national du Québec