Mercure, Pierre, Canadian composer; b. Montreal, Feb. 21, 1927; d. in an ambulance between Avallon and Auxerres, France, Jan. 29, 1966, after an automobile crash while driving from Paris to Lyons. He studied harmony and counterpoint with Marvin Duchow and Claude Champagne and bassoon with Roland Gagnier and Louis Letellier at the Montreal Cons. (1944–49). He then studied composition with Boulanger and conducting with Barzin in Paris (1949–50), and later studied orchestration with Hoérée and Milhaud and conducting with Fournet there (1962). He also took courses with Dallapiccola at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood (summer, 1951), and at Darmstadt and Dartington with Pousseur, Nono, and Berio (1962). He played bassoon with the Montreal Sym. Orch. (1947–52), then joined the CBC (1952), where he served as its first producer of television music programming (1954–59). In his music, he explored electronic sonorities in combinations with traditional instrumentation.
orch.: Kaléidoscope (1947–48); Pantomime for Winds and Percussion (1948); Divertissement for Solo String Quartet and String Orch. (1957); Triptyque (1959); Lignes et points (1964; Montreal, Feb. 16, 1965). chamber: Emprise for Clarinet, Bassoon, Cello, and Piano (1950); Tetrachromie, ballet for 3 Winds, 4 Percussionists, and Tape (1963); H2O per Severino for 4-10 Flutes and/or Clarinets (1965). vocal:Cantate pour une joie for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (1955); Psaume pour abri, radiophonie cantata for Narrator, 2 Choruses, Chamber Ensemble, and Tape (Montreal, May 15, 1963). tape: 6 pieces with optional choreography:Improvisation, Incandescense, Structures métalliques I and II (all 1961), Manipulations (1963), and Surimpressions (1964); Répercussions, for Japanese Wind Chimes on Tape (1961); Jeu de Hockey (1961); Structures métalliques III (1962). other: 3 short choreographed pieces:Dualité, with Trumpet and Piano, La Femme archaïque, with Viola, Piano, and Timpani, and Lucrèce Borgia, with Trumpet, Piano, and Percussion (all 1949); film scores.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire