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Éva Gauthier - Later Career

In the late 1920s, Gauthier encountered financial worries and illness led her to Paris for a time. She temporarily gave up performing, resuming in 1931 at age 45, with a concert in Havana. As her stage appearances became less frequent, she took up teaching, in part because it was lucrative. In this, Gauthier shared Emma Albani's experience: Albani was impoverished in later life and had to rely on patrons and teaching to earn a living.

 
  Programme for the American premiere of Perséphone, with Éva Gauthier in the title role

By the mid-1930s, Gauthier's career as a recitalist was winding down. She was still premiering vocal works, though; for example the soprano role in Socrate, Satie's dramatic symphony with voice. She concluded her long association with Stravinsky by premiering the title vocal role in his ballet Perséphone, in March 1935, and reprising the role in 1936. Through 1936 and 1937, she let it be known that after 22 years of singing modern music in the U.S., she was retiring. She gave three farewell concerts in New York, including one devoted to the music of French composers early and modern.

 
Announcement for one of Gauthier's last recitals, May 14, 1936  

Although officially retired, Gauthier remained active in the music scene. She maintained a studio on West 51st Street in New York, and proved herself a skilled voice teacher. She gave master classes and served on performance juries. Many of her students distinguished themselves and through some of them, her influence extended to other fields. One example is James Lipton, who became vice-president of the Actors Studio and helped found the Actors Studio Master of Fine Arts program.

 
  Photograph of Éva Gauthier, which appeared in the June 1941 issue of The Musical Record magazine

Gauthier was also a founding member of the American Guild of Musical Artists and served on its board of governors. The ambassadress for contemporary music received many honours. One of these, the Campion Citation, which was awarded to her in 1949, read: "To Mme. Éva Gauthier: She has devoted a lifetime to the study, performance and teaching of the best in song literature in all its phases, her rare open-mindedness and unorthodox enthusiasm having been initially responsible for the recognition of many vital and important modern composers".

In her later years, Éva Gauthier continued to support the New York art-music scene, attending recitals of her students and others, and taking part in fund-raising efforts. She published articles on her experiences, including one on the contemporary music festival in Venice (The Musical Record, June 1941) and another on the Roaring Twenties (Musical Courier, February 1, 1955). She also wrote for radio. During her last years, however, she became quite ill and suffered further financial reverses, and her pianist Celius Dougherty sought support for her. She passed away on December 20, 1958.

 
Advertisement for Gauthier's recordings of French-Canadian folk songs, La Presse, December 31, 1918   Advertisement for the August list of Victor Records recordings, featuring two of Gauthier's recordings of French-Canadian folk songs, La Presse, August 1, 1917

Few recordings of Éva Gauthier's voice are available, in part because as a recital specialist she simply did not make many recordings. However, some recordings do remain, in particular those that she made on the Victor label in 1917 and 1918 of traditional French-Canadian songs. She also recorded arias and songs by French composers, and "Nina Boboh", a Javanese slumber song. Among her surviving recordings are the folk song "Un Canadien errant", "Romance", by her friend Debussy, and "Sur les bords de la rivière" (on the Columbia record label, 1918).

Éva Gauthier distinguished herself as a musical artist ahead of her time, who personally shaped the status of modern vocal music in North America. Her musical technique and her inspirational strength in her beliefs have secured her a place among Canadian musicians. In calling Gauthier a "perfect friend and perfect interpreter," Maurice Ravel acknowledged the debt that he and other twentieth-century composers owed her.

"Our present-day musicians must be encouraged to give us what they have, so that our own period shall not be sterile - so that music shall not stand still."
(Quoted in Music Magazine, October 1985)

 
  Éva Gauthier, circa 1905

For more information on Éva Gauthier's recordings, please consult the Virtual Gramophone database.

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References

"Éva Gauthier fonds". -- National Library of Canada [online]. -- [Cited July 2, 2003]. -- Access: www.collectionscanada.ca/4/7/m15-344-e.html

Explore the world of gamelan [online]. -- [Cited July 2, 2003]. -- Access: http://alek.zipzap.ch/gamelan/inde_eng.htm

"Gauthier, Éva". -- Encyclopedia of music in Canada. -- Edited by H. Kallmann et al. -- 2nd ed. --Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c1992. -- xxxii, 1524 . -- AMICUS No. 12048560

"Gauthier, Éva". -- The new Grove dictionary of American music. -- Edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie. -- New York, N.Y. : Grove's Dictionaries of Music, 1986. -- 4 v. -- AMICUS No. 6194168

Jablonski, Edward. -- George Gershwin. -- With an introduction by Harold Arlen. -- New York : Putnam, [1962]. -- 190 p. -- AMICUS No. 1736385

Lindsay, Jennifer. -- Javanese gamelan : traditional orchestra of Indonesia. -- 2nd ed. -- Singapore ; Toronto : Oxford University Press, 1992. -- vii, 76 p. -- AMICUS No. 11194395

Mansell, Wendy. -- "Grand tradition : Éva Gauthier : 1885-1958 ; great Canadian musical figures of the past". -- Opera Canada. -- Vol. 37 (Summer 1996). -- P. 9. -- AMICUS NO. 1645716

Schwartz, Charles. -- Gershwin, his life and music. -- Indianapolis : Bobbs-Merrill Co., c1973. -- 428 p. -- AMICUS No. 2660535

Sills, Herbert. -- Éva Gauthier - mezzo soprano. -- [Ottawa] : Historical Society of Ottawa, 1986. -- 9 p. -- AMICUS No. 13092109

Turbide, Nadia. -- "Éva Gauthier - de Java au jazz". -- Aria. -- Vol. 5, no 2 (juillet/août 1982). -- P. 13-14, 19. -- AMICUS No. 2862457

_____. -- "Canadian Éva Gauthier pioneered 20th century". -- Music magazine. (Oct. 1985). -- P. 11-14. -- AMICUS No. 15549

_____. "Éva Gauthier (1885-1958) : Première cantatrice canadienne-française d'avant-garde". -- Les Cahiers de l'ARMuQ. -- No 7 (mai 1988). -- P. 65-78. -- AMICUS No. 3849092

Éva Gauthier, mezzo-soprano and voice teacher (1885-1958)

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