Honorary degree citation - Yvonne Hubert*
By: Philip Cohen, June 1981
In honouring Yvonne Hubert this evening, Concordia University pays tribute to a distinguished pianist and teacher whose tireless efforts for over half a century have had a profound influence on the course of musical life in Quebec. Recognized internationally as a piano teacher of the first rank, her students include some of the most celebrated performers, composers, musicologists and teachers this country has ever produced. They have distinguished themselves as prizewinners in virtually every major piano competition, including the Tschiakowsk?, Rubenstein, J.S. Bach, Queen Elizabeth of Belgium and Montreal International to name a few. Their presence on the concert platforms of the world, as well as in music schools, universities and just about everywhere else that music is made, is testimony to the breadth of this remarkable teacher's influence. In recognition of her contribution, she has received the Canadian Music Council Medal and the Diplome d'Honneur of the Canadian Conference of the Arts.
Yvonne Hubert brings an extraordinarily rich cultural and performing experience to her teaching. A native of France, her musical gifts were brought to maturity by some of this century's most eminent musicians, notably Gabriel Fauré and Alfred Cortot. At the age of eleven, Lille Conservatoire awarded her its First Prize in Piano. Five years later, as Cortot's student - in his words "ma meilleure élève" - she obtained the coveted First Prize of the Paris Conservatoire. Her subsequent career, which included highly acclaimed tours of North America, established her reputation as an outstanding interpreter in both the solo and chamber music repertoires.
In 1926, almost immediately after taking up residence in Montreal, Yvonne Hubert decided to establish L'Ecole de Piano Alfred Cortot. It remained the only school bearing his name endorsed by the great pianist and teacher. The event is significant, since it points towards the day when the serious Quebec music student could expect to receive thoroughly professional training without leaving the province.
When the Government of Quebec established the Conservatoire de Musique in the mid 1940's, Yvonne Hubert was one of the first in a line of distinguished teachers invited to join its faculty. She has also been instrumental in developing the Piano Department of L'Ecole Vincent D'Indy - again teaching, training instructors and establishing standards of performance. An impressive number of her students from both these schools have achieved international renown.
There can be little doubt that the respect enjoyed by the Quebec musical performer today, is in no small measure due to the pioneering efforts of Yvonne Hubert. However, no list of her accomplishments can possibly convey the spiritual legacy she has left her students - a vision of music as the ultimate delight of the soul, to be shared with grace, modesty, passion, wonder and, above all - joy. This is the Hubert method.
Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Yvonne Hubert, in absentia, that you may confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.