Joachim, Otto (1910-)
Born in Germany in 1910, violinist and violist Otto Joachim is well known to Montrealers. Former principal viola of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and a founding member of the Montreal String Quartet, he was also a professor at McGill University and the Montreal Conservatory. Joachims 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.
The String Quartet (1997) of Otto Joachim found its inspiration after a visit to Seoul, Korea where Joachim was active as a violin instructor 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. Its original form was as a String Trio; its final 1997 version as a quartet is what will be presented tonight. 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.