Musicians & composers
Born June 11, 1914 Vancouver, British Columbia. Died April
26, 1973. She is perhaps best known and remembered as a piano accompanist
and soloist on radio and with performing with orchestras. She worked with
the Vancouver chamber Orchestra and the Victoria symphony Orchestra. She was
an accompanist for the British Columbia Music Festival throughout the 1930's
Frances Marr Adaskin
née Marr. Born August 23, 1900 Ridgetown, Ontario. Died March
8, 2001Vancouver, British Columbia. Frances began playing the piano as a
child and went on to study music at Alma College, St Thomas, Ontario.
Frances studied piano at the Toronto Conservatory of Music and in
Paris, France. In 1926 she married renowned violinist Harry Adaskin and the
two formed a lifetime musical duo. They performed and introduced Canadian
music abroad and from 1944-1954 they toured Canada and performed on CBC
Radio. During World War ll she wrote stories for such magazines as
Saturday Night. She was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1976. The couple
retired in 1991 and settled in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Cora Bell Ahrens
Born January 23, 1891 Stratford, Ontario. Died August 26,
1964. She studied music in Toronto where she received her Bachelor of Music. She
played in a trio which accompanied silent movies in Stratford theatres. In
the 1930's she was one of the 1st itinerant rural school music teachers and
taught throughout Perth County, Ontario. She would lecture in pedagogy at
the University of Western Ontario, London, the University of Toronto and
McGill University, Montreal. She conducted summer workshops in piano
pedagogy in major Canadian cities. Her published credits include tutorial
texts to help student including Ear Training which was six volumes and
Rudiments of Music (Toronto 1943-46) which was nine volumes. She was co-author
of For All Piano Teachers (Oakville, 1955 reprinted 1980) which was
translated into Braille in 1985 for blind musicians.
April 24, 1913 Montreal, Quebec. Died February 21, 2000 Ottawa, Ontario.
Violet studied music
with the best of her era. In 1936 Violet graduated with a Bachelor of Music
degree from McGill University. The family would change their name to Archer,
the English translation of their name, in 1940. From 1940 through 1947 she
was a percussionist with the Montreal Women's Symphony Orchestra. She
would also work as a piano teacher and was organist at various Montreal
churches. Violet would make her forma debut as an orchestral composer with
her work Scherzo Sinfonico performed by the Montreal Orchestra in
1940. In 1942 she was studying in New York City, U.S.A. where she was
introduced to Hungarian folk tunes. From 1944 to 1947 she taught at the
McGill Conservatory, Montreal. In the last years of this decade she studied
at Yale University, Hartford, Conneticut, U.S.A. earning a Bachelor of Music
in 1948 and her Master's Music the following year. She spend time as
Composer -in-residence at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas,
U.S.A. From Texas she went on to the University of Oklahoma, U.S.A.
where she taught until 1961. Violet returned to Canada in the early 1960's
and earned her doctorate at the University of Toronto. Next she joined the
faculty of Music at the University of Alberta in Edmonton where she remained
until her retirement in 1978. As a composer she produced a wide variety of
scores for voice, instrumentals, films and even a comic opera and performed
in over 30 countries. She was named Composer of the Year in Canada. In 1977
she received the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal and in 1982 she received the
Canada 125 Award. In 1983 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of
Canada and her home province presented her the Alberta Life Achievement
Award. In 1985 became the 1st
North American woman composer to be honoured with a festival of her own works.
The Canadian Music Centre Library, located in Calgary, Alberta was named in
her honour in 2007. Violet was known for both tradition and contemporary
music techniques and she had a strong belief of the importance of creating
20th century music for youngsters as indicated by the fact that there is
an indie rock band The Violet Archers.
Born September 5, 1922 St-Jérome, Quebec. Died October 8, 1984 Montreal,
Quebec. A renowned organist and educator. Francoise began to learn piano
when she was about 6 years old. She gave her 1st recital on
August 23, 1936 at St-Stanislas Church, Montreal, Quebec. That same year she
was awarded an organ diploma from the
playing from memory Bach's six trio sonatas. She studied at the New England
Conservatory, Boston, U.S.A., Conservatoire national de Montréal and at the
Paris Conservatory in France, During World War ll she was interned in
Besancon following the Battle for France where she was the 1st
North American to win the Grand Premier Prix in Music. After the war she
returned to Canada and performed many recitals winning respect as an
interpreter and improviser in her music. From 1955 through 1965 she took
part in numerous seminars and conferences in Europe including performing at
the Brussels Worlds Fair in 1958. In 1961 she also received the Prix de
Musique Calixa Lavallée. In 1967 she performed at Canada’s Expo ‘67 held in
Montreal. She taught at the Université de Montréal, the Conservatoire de
Musique et d’art dramatique du Québec and the Ecole Vincent-d’Indy.
The Encyclopedia of Canada. (Hurtig, 1986)
Melissa Auf Der Maur
Born March 17, 1972 Montreal, Quebec. She stared studying
photographic Arts at Concordia University when she was asked in 1994 to play
for Courtney Love's band, HOLE. She was bas guitarist with the group until
1999. She not only plays guitar and sings but she plays piano and trumpet as
well. She toured for awhile with the group the Smashing Pumpkins before
making her solo debut album in 2004. She was the person who defended David
Suzuki as the Greatest Canadian in the popular 2004 television contest.
Averill Piers Baker
Born 1944 Halifax, Nova Scotia. Averill has always loved to play piano. At
13 she won scholarship to Conservatory of Music in Toronto In 1963 she
graduated from the University of Toronto with an Artists Diploma. Two years
later she married George Baker, a politician and future senator for Canada.
The young couple moved to Newfoundland where they raised their four
children. Averill now only played for family and for local charity benefits.
In 1992 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a successful surgery the
cancer returned in 1995 and Averill decided to work on her girlhood dreams
and applied herself to her music. In 2004 she placed second in the
prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition which made her one
of Canada’s outstanding amateur pianists. She also competed in the
Washington International Piano Amateur Competition where she placed fourth
and won the Audience Choice and Press Award. Opportunities to perform found
her prepared to perform and her cancer under control. She plays throughout
Herstory, the Canadian Women’s Calendar 2006 Coteau Books, 2005
Born 1898 Montreal, Quebec. Died December 21, 1969. She performed on
the piano at the age of 6 as a child prodigy. She studied in Europe and New
York. Her patrons, Including , Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Prime Minister of
Canada, helped her pay for her studies. She had her New York City Debut in
1910. In 1912 she performed, by request, at the White House for the
President ( she would return by request to perform for two other presidents
in 1934 and 1954) She made her first European tour in 1927 returning to
North America just prior to World War ll. She became a fund raiser and
philanthropist , establishing a scholarship in her name at McGill University
in the Faculty of Music.
Born September 6, 1908 Umen, Ukraine. Died February 14, 2002,
Scarborough, Ontario. Sara was studying piano
with her father when she was 5 years old. She emigrated to Canada in 1925
and began studies on scholarships at the Toronto Conservatory of Music for
voice. In the 1930's and 1940's she sang with orchestras in Toronto and gave
recitals throughout Ontario. She also performed from 1940 through 1973 as a
concert and radio accompanist on piano.
Jean Ashworth Bartle
Born March 7, 1947 Littleborough, Lancashire, England. Jean obtained her
Canadian citizenship in 1968. She taught and earned her BA from the
University of Toronto in 1977 winning the Leslie Bell Prize. In 1978 she
founded the Toronto Children’s Choirs to provide a children’s choir for the
Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In 1982 she won the Sir Ernest MacMillan
Scholarship which enabled her to study at the Westminster Choir College,
Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A. In 1986 she earned the Roy Thomson Hall Award
for outstanding contribution to musical life in Toronto.. She has written
two books for children’s choir directors and has edited choral music series.
In 1998 she was invested with the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.
In 2002 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Golden Jubilee Medal followed in
2003 with an honorary life membership in the Ontario Music Educators’
Jean Ashworth Bartle Music Education Award, was established at the Faculty
of Music at the
University of Toronto.
Born August 26, 1929 Quebec, Quebec. She was born to a
musical family where her grandfather, father, aunt and uncle an her brothers
all has successful musical careers. She studied in her home province of
Quebec and earned a B MUS from Université Laval. She completed her studies
in Paris, France, London, England and Geneva, Switzerland. Returning to
Canada she began her teaching career at the School of Education and school
of Music at Université Laval. She is also known as an expert accompanist and
applied her skills in Italy and Austria as well as at home in Quebec.
Fleurette Marie Berthe
née Beauchamp. Born December 12, 1907 Montreal, Quebec. Died
March 15, 2007. She
studied voice and piano appearing in the productions of the Societé
canadienne d'opérette. On piano she won awards in the 1930's from the
Canadian Institute of Music and the Prix de Paris in 1933. she remained in
Paris to study piano returning to perform public and radio recitals in
Canada. She enjoyed playing works of Canadian composers, some of whom
dedicated works to her! She continued her career as a teacher of her fine
Born June 20, 1959 Montreal, Quebec Louise began learning piano
at 5 years of age and carried on with training in Montreal, New York and
Paris. In the 1980's she gained recognition by winning international awards
for her performances. She has appeared all over Europe, England and North
America. She has enjoyed working with the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio
France. She excerpts extraordinary energies in her playing which has
impressed the public and professional critics alike. In 1989 she was named
Woman of the Year in the Arts Category at the Salon de la femme in Montreal.
Born September 27, 1923 East Angus, Quebec. Died January 13,
1968. She studied for her degrees in music in Montreal before going to Paris
France to continue studies with instrument of choice, the piano. Returning
to Canada in 1951 she taught at Ecole Vincent d"Indy and the Orford Art
Centre and the Montreal conservatory of Music. She composed for piano,
violin, cello, flute and choir music. Her works were performed at concerts
and on radio not only in Canada but also in Europe and South America.
Bloomfield. Born September 15, 1910, Lindsay, Ontario. Died June 5, 2003. As
a youngster she loved music and taught herself how to play the piano. She
studied music paying for her studies by teaching piano from 1929 to 1939 at
the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music. In 1938 her composition Suite No. 1
for violin and piano won the Voigt Society Award for best Canadian
composition. In 1939 she married and turned down a Julliard scholarship. In
1954 she joined the staff at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music
teaching piano and composition. She remained teaching until 1985. Her own
compositions have been performed in Europe and throughout North America. She
was an associate of the Canadian Music Center as well as a member of the
Association of Canadian Women composers.
Source: Ronald Napier: A Guide
to Canada's Composers. Willowdale, Ontario, Avondale Press.
Born Val D'Or, Quebec May 21. 1957. Linda is a composer and
orchestra conductor was invited by
musical director Trevor Pinnock to become the 1st composer in residence for
the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa , 1992-1995. She introduced
programs to encourage public involvement at the National Arts Center and made great strides
in bringing contemporary classical music to the attention of the audiences.
Her first CD in 1998 Exquisite Fires: Music of Linda Bouchard was made with
the NAC Orchestre. In 1998 she was honoured as Composer of the year ,
Camseil Québécois de la musique . Sources: Linda
Bouchard web site ; Women in Ottawa; Mentors and Milestones Online accessed June 2011.
Born May 21, 1941.Montreal, Quebec. In
1958 she was awarded the Prix d'Europe for her aptitude in playing the
piano. For the next 6 years she continued her studies in Paris, France. Back
in Canada she has performed numerous recitals o concerts in public tours and
on CBC radio. She has performed with the CBC orchestra, the Quebec and
Vancouver Symphony orchestras. She has also toured and recorded in Europe.
She began to teach in Montreal in 1967.
Liona Maria Carolynne Boyd
Born July 11, 1949, London, England. On the ocean voyage’ when her family
immigrated to Canada’ she entertained in a children’s talent show. At 13 she
received a guitar as a Christmas gift. The following year she saw English
guitarist, Julian Beam, perform and she was smitten with the power of the
music. In 1972 she graduated from the University of Toronto, won the
Canadian National Music Competition and toured with British guitarist John
Mills. Studying in Europe 1972 -1974 she also busked in Italy and performed
recitals in Belgium, Holland and France. 1975, back in North America, she
had her 1st Carnegie Hall performance and in Canada she graced
the cover of the Canadian Magazine. The story tag line was “The first
lady of guitar”. In 1978 she would use this stage line as a title for one of
her many recordings. She performs for world leaders and royalty bringing
classical guitar to new recognition by performing with such notables as
Tracy Chapman, George Zamphir, Roger Whitaker, Eric Clapton, Gordon
Lightfoot, and Chet Atkins. She is also known for her solo performances with
symphony orchestras and her performances for numerous charitable
performances. In 1988 she published In My Own Key: My Life in Love and
Music (Stoddard Publishing). In 1992 she married John B. Simon and
settled in California. Divorced in 2004, she eventually returned to
Toronto. She had a separation from the stage when she was diagnosed with
Muscian Focal Dystopia which can produce muscle spasms. By 2009 she had
reinvented her playing, added singing and songwriting to her repertoire and
is back on stage and recording. Her work has garnered her 5 Canadian Juno
awards. She has been inducted into the Order of Canada and the Order of
Sources: In My Own Key by Liona Boyd (Stoddard, 1988) ; Liona Boyd web site
(accessed March 2014)
Born November 4, 1881 Picton, Ontario. Died July 26, 1977.
She took her BA in Chicago and continued studies there with leading
musicians of her era. She taught piano in Chicago and became director of
Piano Department at Whitman College in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. leaving only
in 1909 to continue her studies in Europe. She has to her publishing credit
an opera, hymns orchestral works. Her choral drama Pilgrims of Destiny won
the 1928 League of American Pen Women prize for best work by a woman. She
was guest conductor throughout North America and England and was leader of
numerous choirs during her long and successful career. She also served per
profession as president of the Society of American Women composers and Vice
President of the National Association of American Composers and Conductors.
née Sheasgreen. Born February 21, 1908. Concord,
Massachusetts, U.S.A. As a young woman she lived and
taught piano in Saskatoon. She continued to study in Chicago, New York City,
Seattle and Los Angeles. Her career took her from staff pianist for a
Vancouver radio station to live radio and TV performances, to teaching at
the San Francisco Conservator of Music and to being a professor at the
university of Manitoba. She now specializes in coaching duo-piano teams.
Born 1916 Harbin, China. Educated in China
she performed many concerts of British and French Chamber Music. She
emigrated to Canada in 1952 and settled in Winnipeg to re-establish her
career in her new country. Performing across North America she participated
ins some 800 public, radio and television concerts! In 1984 she began
teaching at the University of Manitoba.
Marilyn Edythe Broughton.
née Rosevear. Born February
15, 1940 Toronto, Ontario. She studied piano at Trinity College of
Music, London England. After studying at the University of Toronto she taught mathematics but she still kept up
her interest in music and composing and helped with music programs
after school. Marie married Peter Broughton who was also a teacher of
mathematics and a pianist. The couple had two children. At this time
she composed a number of pieces for Piano, piano duet, choirs and other
instruments. Continuing to work with the Toronto Board of Education she as a
choir accompanist and enjoyed working with teachers and their choirs She
also enjoys composing sols and anthems for her church. Perhaps one of the most
famous of her several works is Un Canadien Errant.
Born October 22, 1955.
As a young girl she studied classical piano but
at 20 she turned to jazz and enjoys playing flute and soprano saxophone. In 1983
she and her husband started a band. She
has 7 CD’s of jazz and Cuban Music. In
1993 for the album “Spirit of Havana” she won a Juno Award.
Born April 11, 1915 Edmonton, Alberta. She
studied piano in Ontario and in 1932 began teaching at the Royal Hamilton
Conservatory of Music. She made her professional debut at Massey Hall in
Toronto in 1935. In 1936 she won both the Eaton Scholarship and the Dominion
Gold Medal of the Toronto Conservatory of Music. She studied and toured in
Hungary and in 1940 she performed throughout North America and continued
performing through the 1950's in England and Europe.
Charlotte Augustine Cadoret (Sister St-Jean-du Sacré-Coeur)
Born February 29, 1908, Montreal, Quebec. Died March 7, 1995. Charlotte,
raised a Roman Catholic too her vows as a nun and was given the name Sister
St-Jean-du Sacre Coeur of the congregation of Notre Dame. She earned a
teaching certificate in Montreal in 1928 and went on to study for a Bachelor
of Music in Montreal in 1931. From 1942 through 1954 she was the Director of
Ecole Normale de Musique and from 1959 through 1989 she served as General
Director of Musical Studies of the Congregation of Notre Dame. From 1976
through 1982 she served as vice-president of CFMS (Now CSMT). She composed
choral works, masses, cantatas, songs, folksongs and organ music.
née Caron. Born 1906 Louisville, Quebec.
Died 1972. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Montréal in 1942 and went on
to study voice, piano and music composition. She is best known as a composer
and writer of songs and piano music as well as harmonization for folk music.
In 1962 she published Mes plus belle chansons, for children to play
on piano. Her personal papers are available for research and the National
Library of Canada.
Victoria (Prudenca Victorine) Cartier
Born April 4, 1867 Sorrel, Québec. Died
January 1, 1955. She studied organ and piano in Québec and later in Paris,
France. She returned to Montreal in 1898 and founded Ecole e piano
Paris-Montréal which remained active for 25 years. Her own performing career
began on October 27, 1898. She widened the horizon of music education in
Canada through her teachings and her public and radio performances. She was
in great demand as a teacher and taught in several institutions. She enjoyed
play the organ and was organist for several Montreal churches. She was named
an Officer of the Académie, France in 1901 and of the Instruction Publique
of France in 1912.
Born August 15, 1956, Montreal, Quebec. Larraine attended the Universite de
Sherbrooke where in 1977 she earned a Bachelor of Music followed in 1979 by
a Masters in classical piano. She studied 1978.1979 in Montreal and then was
off for more lessons in New York City, New York, U.S.A. Lorraine has
recorded some ten albums as a solo performer and musical director. Including
recording with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra . She has also composed a
number of pieces of music. Since 1985 she has taught in colleges and
universities and is a jazz piano professor at the Cegep Saint-Laurant,
Montreal. In 2012 she was induced as a Member of the Order of Canada.
January 27 2013 she received Le prix de l”interprete de l’anne at the 16th
Gala of Prix Opus du Conseil Quebecois de la Musique.
Born October 9, 1923 Montreal, Quebec.
Andrée studied music at the
École supérieure de musique d'Outremont prior to her studies at the
musique du Québec , Montreal. She also studied history of
art and literature at the University of Montreal and went to France to study
Paris. Returning to Montreal in 1949 she taught music
history and musicology at various institutions including the
Conservatoire de musique du Québec, Montreal, the University of Montreal and
École de musique
Vincent-d'Indy until she retired in 1988. She was a
commentator for concerts at the
musicales du Canada (JMC) from 1949 to 1966 and was
managing editor for the JMC's journal from 1951 to 1956. In 1951, she was
elected to the
de musicologie. Over the years she has written and
introduced a number of series on music for Radio Canada and wrote articles
and reviews for several newspapers and magazines. In 1998, the year she
retired, she received a medal from the Quebec National Assembly and in 1995
she became a Member of the Order of Canada. (2019)
Florence Durrell Clark
Born April 29, 1891, Rochester, New York, U.S.A. Died December 24, 1977.
Florence’s parents were Canadian and eventually the family settled in
earned a B.Mus. degree from the University of Toronto, where she studied
composition and violin. She earned the diploma Licentiate of Trinity
College, London, England and became only the third woman to earn the
designation Fellow of the Canadian College of Organists. An active member of
the Royal Canadian Council of Organists O, Hamilton Centre, she was made a
life member of the Centre and was also recognized as an Honorary member of
the RCCO. Florence wrote organ works, compositions for strings, vocal solos,
and choral works. Her published compositions include
on a 2nd Mode Melody and
Her manuscripts are in the Special Collections Department of the Hamilton
Jane Austin Coop
Born April 18, 1950, Saint John, New Brunswick. In 1970 she won the CBC
Talent Festival for her piano playing. In 1972 she had completed her
Bachelor degree in music at the University of Toronto. She made her Toronto
debut at the St Lawrence Hall in 1973. In 1975 she won the Washington
International Competition and in 1977 was a finalist at the Munich
International Piano Competition in Germany. 1979 saw her debut at Wigmore
Hall in London, England and by 1980 she had her debut at the famous Carnegie
Recital Hall. That same year she joined the faculty at the University of
British Columbia, Vancouver. She continued to tour and appeared at various
locations in the U.S.A. and throughout Europe. In the 1990’s she was touring
the orient with performances in Japan, Hong Kong, and China. By 1999 she had
produced 10 CD’s. In 1996 she joined the faculty of Knwisel Hall Chamber
Music Festival in Blue Hill, Maine, U.S.A. In December 2012 she was
appointed to the Order of Canada for her contributions as a pianist, and
Born February 10, 1908, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died March 9, 2000
Vancouver, British Columbia. She studied music in England and New York's
famous Julliard School. She was a talented composer, performer and teacher.
She is considered a pioneer in the musical world of Vancouver. Her
compositions have been performed at many concerts, radio and TV productions.
Her works have also been celebrated at music festivals across Canada and
abroad. In 1978, in recognition of her contribution to Canadian music she
was appointed an Officer in the Order of Canada.
Born Queensland, Australia. She studied
and performed as a pianist in England prior to emigration to Canada in 1948.
She enjoyed working with children and music and with the CBC Radio presented
"Music for young musicians" and "Music for young pianists" in the late
1950's. She was also a sought after lecturer on contemporary music. She was
one of the principal founders and a director of Contemporary Showcase.
Born October 28,1974 Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A. A dual citizen, she came to Canada as an infant. As a
toddler she played both piano and violin! Living with her family in Saudi
Arabia she also studied flute. In 1984 she entered the Royal Conservatory of
Music and the followed studies the Université de Montréal and the Peabody
Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. She was the first Canadian
classical artist to sign with Deutche Grammophon/Universal Music Canada. She
has performed piano recitals all over the world and become the
highest-placed Canadian in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
in its 40s years of existence. She released her first album in 2002.
Dorothy Mae Copithorn
2, 1919, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Died November 12, 2013, Calgary
Alberta. (née Spencer) Her father taught her to love and play the piano
until his death when she was only 7 years old. She never lost the gift of
love of music. At 15 she began working as an organist and junior choir
leader at her hometown United Church. She won multiple awards in music
festivals for her solo piano work and her junior choir work. At 18 she had
completed her associate degree in piano and began teaching piano in Swift
Current and along the Empress Railway where she was known as the travelling
music teacher. Leaving on a Monday she taught in Pennant, Battram, Cabri and
Abby, Saskatchewan arriving home on the weekend in the caboose of a freight
train! In By 1947 in Abernethy she had met and married. Wesley Copithorn.
The couple had 3 children. Dorothy played piano/organ in United Churches in
the various towns the family would live. In Indian Head in 1959 she also
started the St Andrew’s United Church intermediate choir. She was a charter
member of the Regina Chapter of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. At
90 , in a long term care facility in Calgary, she continued to play for
Source: “Dorothy Mae Copithorn” by Hope-Arlene Fennell. “Lives Lived”, the
Globe and Mail April 17, 2014.
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon.
Jane Austin Coop
Born April 18, 1950.
She loved to play the piano when she was 5 years old and at 19 she
determined to make the piano her career. She won the CBC talent Festival in
1970. She continued her studies in England and the U.S.A.. In 1975 she won
the Washington International Competition. She has toured and played with
orchestra across North America, England, Europe, Russia, Japan and China.
She has appeared on radio and television, been nominated for two Juno Awards
and recorded more than a dozen titles. She began teaching as a professor at
the University of British Columbia in 2003 and the following year the
university designated her a Distinguished University Scholar.
February 10, 1908 Vancouver, British Columbia. Died March 9, 2000. A
composer and educator she was the first of Canada’s West Coast composers to
receive wide recognition. She began to compose music as a child. She has
more then 350 compositions for a wide variety of vocal and instrumentals.
She is an officer in the Order of Canada.
A composer and a recording artist, she performs original,
contemporary compositions on the Shakuhachi, an ancient Japanese Bamboo
flute. She is the 1st professional female player to specialize in the
unique healing abilities of this sacred Japanese instrument. By 2004 she had
recorded some 16 CD's, fourteen of which specifically for healing and
meditation. Her music has been embraced by healers and spiritual
practitioners around the globe. She has performed before Japanese royality
and travelled extensively around the world with her music. She is a
professor of Music at the University of Toronto and also hosts classes in
Gwendda Dorothy Owen Davies
August 5, 1896
July 4, 1988. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music in
began her piano concert career in 1916. In 1923 she came to Canada for a one
year teaching assignment at
College. She stayed in Canada. For 50 years she was Winnipeg’s most advanced
music teacher for piano and theory. She also appeared as soloist and
accompanist on Winnipeg concert stages.
née Mckelvie. Born 1897. Died 1968. As a child she
demonstrated remarkable musical talent. At the are of 12 she won a 3 year
scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, England. She was the
first North American to win such an honour and the youngest. She continued
her studies at the famed Julliard Scholl of Music in New York City but
turned down the opportunity to become a concert pianist so that she could
return home to Calgary to be with her mother. It was here that she would
marry and have two pianos in her living room and she would offer the
adventure of learning music to many of the best in Alberta. In 1936 she was
elected as a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in England, the first
North American to be granted this honour. She has been described as he
world's best music teacher. A Calgary school and the top prize at the
Calgary annual Kiwanis Music Festival are named in her memory.
Born May 7, 1951 Montreal,
Quebec. Janina began talking piano lessons at the age of four from her
mother. At the age of twelve she had made her debut as a soloist with the
Montreal Symphony Orchestra. By the age of 17 she simultaneously earned her
BA and her Master's degree from the Université of Montréal. This pianist studied in Montreal, Paris, and the Julliard School
in New York City, U.S.A. In 1969 she won 1st prize in the CBC
National Radio Competition for Young Performers. In 1974 she had a
prize-winning performance at the 1st Arthur Rubinstein International Piano
Master Competition, Tel Aviv, Israel. She is celebrated as one of the great interpreters
of the music of the composers Chopin and Liszt. She also enjoys performing
works from Mozart, Chopin, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff. She
is known as a pianist of great power who also plays with warmth and
tone. She has performed throughout Europe , North America and
the Far East. In 2001 she married Harry Oesterle a German music manager. She
is the founder and artistic director of Piano Six, a not-for-profit
educational outreach program dedicated to keeping classical music alive in
small communities throughout Canada. The program was expanded in 2004 to
include musicians from strings and voice as well as piano with the new name
Piano Plus. In 2001 Janina was inducted as an Officer in the Order of
Canada. In 2007 she was awarded the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career
Achievement Award for Keyboard Artistry. In 2007 she was implemented in one
of the biggest scandals in the classical recording business. In 2012
she received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime
Born December 15, 1924 Chelm, Poland. Ida
is said to have picked up her father's violin at the age of three. In 1933
she won the Warsaw (Poland) Conservatory gold medal and the 1st Henryk
Weniawski Violin Competition.
This violinist is known for her flawless technique and beauty
of tone when she plays. She
had a long international career beginning as a child prodigy in Poland,
playing for British servicemen in World War II England. She made
annual tours in Europe and ventured to South America and Asia. She lived in
Montreal from 1952 through 1989. She was the 1st western soloist invited to
China after the Cultural Revolution in that country. She is a member of the
Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In 2006 she performed for Pope Benedict XVI. She
moved to Miami, Florida, U.S.A. where is actively involved in the Miami
International Piano Festival. She is also a sought after adjudicator for
née Foy. Born
May 24, 1921, Warrenspoint County Down, Ireland. She was raised in Listowel,
Ontario and studied violin at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (Now Royal
Conservatory of Music RCM). She taught violin at Alma College, St. Thomas,
Ontario from 1942-1945 and moved to Mount Allison University, as Head of
String Department from 1945-1951. She often performed on CBC radio during
these years. She took advanced studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music and earned a scholarship to
Salzburg, Austria in 1954-1955. Returning to Toronto she taught at RCM. She
introduced the Orff-Schulwerk approach ‘Music for Children’ to North
America. In 1956 she joined the staff at the University of Toronto and in
1962 she taught at Mozarteum in Salzburg. She went on to give teacher
training at various North American universities and wrote numerous helpful
music textbooks. In 1965 she was a special consultant for CBC National
School Broadcasts on radio. In 1966 she won an Ohio State Award for
educational Broadcasting. During the 1967 Canadian Centennial she
participated in several special musical productions. In 1974 she founded the
Orff-Schulwerk Society of Canada and in 1977 she was presented with the
Merit Award from the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. By 1986 she took
retirement from the University of Toronto as Professor Emeritus. She earned
the Canadian Music Council Medal in 1989 and the following year the Pro
Merito Medal from the Carl Orff Foundation of Germany. In 2002 she earned
the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Toronto. She was
admitted to the Order of Canada in 2008 and was the 1st recipient
of the North American Alliance Award of Recognition.
Source: Canadian Encyclopedia online (Accessed July 2015)
Born January 31, 1965 Hadera, Israel. As a youngster she first
was tutored by her father. The family immigrated to Canada in 1972 and Ofra studied in London and Toronto.
She made her debut at 10 and has toured and performed around the world
doing public, radio and television performances. She performs in the hopes
of eradicating the barrier between classical and pop culture music. She is
comfortable performing music of the Beatles and chamber music. She has won
several Juno Awards for her recordings. In 1995 she was inducted into the
Order of Canada. By 2001 she had produced 38 classical solo albums. Source:
Ontario Women's Directorate Accessed June 2003.
Qui Xai Her
(Chu sha her) Born 1963 Shaanxi, Republic of China. Qui has loved applause
ever since she had her 1st performance when she was just 5 years
old. She attended a special school with ½ day music lessons where she
learned how to play guitar. She also loved the pipa, a tear drop shaped
stringed instrument. At 13 she began her professional performing career as a
group member of Baoji Song. At 19 she was attending Xian Academy of Music
and eventually became an instructor at the academy. In 1989 while on tour in
Canada Qui decided to stay in Vancouver and not return to China. In 1991 she
formed a group called Silk Road with other young performers. She began a
second group Asza playing the world’s music. She had made several CD’s with
both groups as well she has toured North America, Singapore, and Thailand.
She is renowned as an accomplished composer.
Born Ottawa, Ontario . Born into a musical
family, her father was the Cathedral organist in Ottawa, and her mother was
her first piano teacher, Angela began her piano studies aged three,
performing in public at four and a year later winning her first scholarship
She won First Prize in Italy’s Viotti Competition in 1978 and was a top
prizewinner in the International Bach competitions of Leipzig and Washington
D.C. as well as the Schumann Competition in Zwickau, the Casadesus
Competition in Cleveland and the Dino Ciani Competition at La Scala, Milan.
In 1985 she won the Toronto International Bach Piano Competition. This
Ottawa native, who studied music at Ottawa U, and is particularly well known
for playing Bach, though she's recorded other composers as well. In 2005
completed a ten year project to record all of Bach's major keyboard
repertoire that has been very well received. In 2002 she was inducted into
the Order of Canada. Submitted by Teresa Gariepy, Ottawa Ontario.
Born September 6, 1975
Edmonton, Alberta. She began studying the violin at the age of
4! As a child prodigy she was a student of James Keene, a
concertmaster of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and she made
her concerto debut in Montreal at the age of 7! At age 9, she
was accepted as a violin student on scholarship at the Curtis
Institute and became a student of Jascha Brodsky. By age 11,
Juliette had garnered international attention, winning top
prizes at the 1986 Beijing International Youth Violin
Competition in China. In 1989, at age 13, Kang became the
youngest artist to win the Young Concert Artists International
Auditions in New York. She attended university and holds a
Masters degree from the famous Julliard School of Music in 1993.
She was a winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists Auditions,
and she subsequently received 1st prize at the Menuhin Violin
Competition of Paris in 1992. She has played with the most
prestigious orchestras of Europe and North America. A CD was
made of her Carnegie Hall recital in 1996. She joined the Boston
Symphony Orchestra and then moved to the Philadelphia Orchestra
where she as served as assistant concertmaster from 2003-2005
after which she held the position of 1st associate
concertmaster. She lives in Center City with her husband and two
Sources: The Canadian
Encyclopedia. Online (Accessed 2005): The Philadelphia Symphony
Orchestra. Online Accessed 2005)
Frances Elaine Keillor
Pianist and Musicologist
Born Sept 2, 1939 London, Ontario. Elaine was introduced to
playing the piano by her mother. When lessons were given to students, Elaine
would simply go to the piano and play the lesson she had just heard. She was
just two and a half when she played the piano on stage in Detroit, Michigan,
U.S.A. At ten she earned an ARCT certificate from the Royal Conservatory of
Music. In 1958 she earned the Chappell Medal as the most promising pianist
in the British Commonwealth. She was home schooled for her hig schooling and
then studied and toured in Europe and the Soviet Union. She developed a
chronic hand injury that caused her to pause her touring and she began her
university studies at York University and then at the University of Toronto.
She graduated with her BA in 1970 and her Master's in 1971. She was the 1st
woman to receive her Doctorate in Musicology from the University of Toronto
in 1976. She taught at York University and Queen's University before setting
at Carleton University in Ottawa in 1977. She was the 1st female professor
of music to be hired at Carleton. She taught various forms of music
gradually specializing in Canadian music. In 1978 she initiated the Festival
of Canadian Music ad in 1980 she introduced the 1st courses of Indigenous
Music. She help found the Canadian Music Heritage Society serving as vice
chair from 1989 through to 200 when she became Chair. She has contributed to
the leading music encyclopedias of the day including the Encyclopedia of
Music in Canada, The Canadian Encyclopedia, the Dictionary of Music and
Musicians and the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. In 2013 she was the
principal author of the Encyclopedia of Native American Music of North
America. In 2016 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. (2019)
Ada Jane Fairlina Kent
Born February 8, 1888, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. .. Died July 23, 1969,
London , England. Ada’s parents were Canadian and at 13 she was settled with
her mother in Hamilton, Ontario. She began formal studies on piano in 1901.
In 1904 she gave a solo recital in Toronto. She served as church organist at
St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church and taught at the Hamilton School of Music.
From 1907 through 1916 she taught at the Toronto Conservatory of Music and
Moulton Ladies College. In the 1920’s and 1930’s she toured Canada and in
England performing recitals. She also composed her own music mainly hymns,
children’s songs and music for violin. She married William Kent and the
couple had one daughter. Some of her personal papers and music was deposited
by family members in 2014 with the Toronto City Archives
Born Nanaimo, British
Columbia November 16, 1964. One of the world's greatest jazz performers she
began to study piano when she was 4 years old. Performing in a local
restaurant at 15, she was soon studying on scholarship in Boston, U.S.A. She
continued her studies/career in LA playing with the great jazz performers of
the era. Back in Toronto she released her first album in 1993. Her albums
released in 1998 and 1999 won Grammy Awards. Her albums have turned double
platinum in Canada, platinum in Portugal, New Zealand, and Poland and turned
gold in France, Singapore and England. She has won several of Canada's Juno
Awards for her music and in 200 she received the Order of British Columbia.
In the spring of 2004 she received her own star on Canada's Walk of Fame in
Born August 3, 1907 Vienna, Austria. Died March 30, 1998, Toronto, Ontario.
In 1923 she entered the Vienna Academy of Music and in 1930 she had earned
her music teacher diploma. In 1935 she made her performing debut on
harpsichord in Austria. By 1937 she was appearing on stage in London,
England with the Boyd Neel Orchestra. In 1938 she immigrated to Canada
settling 1st in Hawkesbury, Quebec before relocating to teach a
Havergal College in Toronto. She was soon doing solo appearances on stage
and on CBC Radio. As well as her classical works she performed 20th
century harpsichord music. In 1958 through 1963 she founded the Toronto
Baroque Ensemble. From 1965 through 1986 she and flutist Robert Aitken
formed the Aitken Kraus Duo. In 1939 she had begun to teach piano and coach
voice privately and at the Collegium Musicum (Toronto). She also taught at
Banff and the Shawinigan Summer School of the Arts as well as at several
universities. Confederation of University Faculty Associations for 'an
outstanding contribution to university teaching' in 1973, was named an
'Outstanding Woman of the Province of Ontario' in 1975, and received a
Toronto Arts Award in 1990 and the Order of Ontario in 1991. She was
inducted as a member of the
Order of Canada
Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Online (Accessed August 2014) She received a citation from the Ontario
Born New York City, New York, U.S.A. 1949. She began studying
violin at age 7. She continued her studies as a young woman earning her
Bachelor of Music at Brandeis University at Boston, U.S.A. and then studied
abroad in the Netherlands. Returning to North America she established her
career as a baroque specialist and became a concertmaster. In the late
1970's while a teacher at Smith College in Boston, she made guest
appearances in Canada. She must have like what she saw of the country. In
1981 , when she was offered the position at Tafelmusik in Toronto as Music
Director, she took the job. By 1988 she had settled herself and became a
Canadian citizen. Her talents in baroque, as a violinist, a concertmaster
and a teacher were used to good means at Tafelmusik and has garnered many
awards including the Muriel Sherrin Award, presented for excellence in
international initiatives in music, the Prix Alliance, the Joan Chalmers
Award and the Molson Prize. She is a Member of the Order of Canada.
Born April 2, 1960. She studied her beloved
music all the way through university. She was the winner of the Canadian
Music Competitions in 1977, the CBC National Competition in 1979, the Robert
Casadesus International Competition in 1983 and has performed on the piano
as a soloist and with orchestras across Canada, the U.S., France England,
Ireland, Switzerland, Hungary and Brazil! She is frequently heard on the CBC
Radio and has recorded for CBC Records. She taught music at Yale University
before returning to teach in Canada at the University of Alberta.
Judith 'Judy' Ann Loman
Born November 3, 1936 Goshen, Indiana, U.S.A. Judy studied
privately from 1947 through 1956 an later at the Curtis Institute of Music,
Philadelphia Pennsylvania, U.S.A. She holds a Bachelor of Music, and a
Master of Music in Opera. She married Joseph Umbrico (d 2007), a trumpeter
and the couple had four children. She relocated to Toronto in 1957 following
her husband to his job at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She was the
principal harp for the Toronto Symphony from 1959 through 1991. She earned a
Juno Award for Best Classical Album in 1980. She has made numerous guest and
solo appearances across Canada. She has taught at the University of Toronto
and she established a summer harp school. In 2015 she was appointed to the
Order of Canada.(2019)
Born St Paul,
Minnesota, U.S.A. April 23, 1940. Died December 10, 2012. In 1962 she earned
her B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College. She married Richard Loomer in 1963
and the couple had one son. She worked as a high school teacher in Denver,
Colorado, U.S.A. for three years. The young couple moved to Vancouver,
British Columbia so that Richard could intern for his Medical degree. Once
Richard’s studies were complete, Diane returned to studies in music earning
her B.A. at the University of British Columbia in 1982. She conducted a
choir at the University of British Columbia and studies under well established conductors. She also founded
the Douglas Collage Children’s Choir and became assistant director of the
Vancouver Bach Choir. In 1987 she co-founded the Elektra Women’s Choir which
became recognized internationally. In 1991 she formed Cypress Choral Music
Publishing with her husband. In 1992 she founded Chor Leoni Men’s Choir
which became one of Canada’s leading male choirs. She composed and arranged
numerous spirituals for her choirs. In 1999 her work garnered her
recognition with the Order of Canada. In 2002 she received the Queen
Elizabeth Golden Jubilee medal. In 2007 she founded En Chor and auditioned
40 voice mixed voice choir for singers over 55 years of age. In 2009 she
became conductor emeriti for her choirs.
Source: “Choral conductor had a gift for getting the best from her singers”
by Suzanne A Hearne, The Globe and Mail January 9, 2013.
submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Born July 30, 1949 Vancouver, British Columbia.
Alexina earned a Bachelor of Music in Music History from the University of
British Columbia in 1970. She went on to complete studies for her Master's
degree from the University of California, San Diego, U.S.A. in 1974. She is
and composer who writes music for orchestra, chamber music and electronic music.
She relocated to Toronto in 1980.
She is known for a work that she dedicated to the memory of the famous
Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.
In 1986 she composed the opening music,
The Ringing Earth, for Expo 86 in Vancouver and was named that year as
Composer of the Year by Canadian Music Council. In 1988 she won a Juno Award for
her orchestral composition, Song of Paradise.
In 1990, 1992, and 2003 she received the SOCAN Concert Music
Award for the most performed Classical composer of the year.
In 1999 she won the Jules Leger Prize for new Chamber Music
for Nightfall, a work for 14 strings written for I Musici de Montreal.
In 2001 she was inducted into the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada in
2005. In 2006 she was made a fellow of he Royal Society of Canada.
December 4, 1944
Montreal, Quebec. Along with her sister and singing partner, Kate
she began singing in coffee houses in Montreal in the 1960's. Anna
studied at the Ecole des Beaux-arts de Montreal from 1964-1968.
In 1976 they produced a record album together and won the Melody
Maker Best Record of the Year. Other albums
followed including an all French album in 1982 and the duo would win
Juno Awards for their works. Anna married journalist Dane Lanken and the
couple have two children. The McGarrigles were
named to the Order of Canada in 1994. In 1999 the sisters received
the Women of Originality Awards. In 2006 the singers received a Lifetime
Achievement Award from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music
Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).
February 6, 1946 Montreal, Quebec. Died
January 18, 2010 Montreal, Quebec. Kate was the youngest of three
sisters who grew up in St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec. Along with her
sister and partner, Anna, she began singing folk music in coffee houses in Montreal
in the 1960’s. From 1963 to 1967 she
joined Jack Nisserson and Peter Weldon to form the Mountain City Four. Kate
studied engineering at McGill University before she began writing songs. In 1976
they produced a record album together which won Best Record of the
year from Melody Maker. Kate married Loudon Wainwright lll and the couple
had two children, Rufus Martha who themselves became acclaimed
musicians. After a brief solo experience
in New York, Kate rejoined her sister and more albums followed including
a French language collection in 1982. n 1998 the sisters won Juno
Awards for two albums. The McGarrigles were named to
the Order of Canada in 1994.In 1999 Kate and Anna earned Women of
Originality Awards. In 2006 the sisters received the Lifetime Achievement
Award from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada
In 2008, after a diagnoses of cancer Kate established a
Fund at the McGill University Health Centre to raise awareness of the rare
cancer called Sarcoma. May 12-13, 2011 a tribute concert was filmed and
released in June 2013 as: Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works
of Kate McGarrigle Place Kate McGarrigle was inaugurated August 7, 2013
Morden, Manitoba February 17,1957. As a young girl, she was trained in
classical singing. During her teens she experimented with folk music and
performed in clubs in her home town of Winnipeg. In the 1970's she became
familiar with Celtic music. She worked as a singer, actress and writer at
the famous Stratford Festival in Ontario. She learned to play the harp and
even played as a busker on the streets of Toronto. She has written musical
scores for works by the National Film Board of Canada as well as producing
albums of her work. Her 1991 album won a Juno Award. The recording "The
Bells of Christmas" was recorded for the Walt Disney film The Santa Claus
Born June 13, 1972 Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Natalie was
introduced to the fiddle when she was nine and had her performing debut that
same year. She released her 1st album when she was 16 and in 1991 she
released her second album. In 1998 the album A Compilation was produced.
In 1999 she performed at the Juno Awards. In 2002 she married
fiddler Donnell Leah and the couple Lakefield, Ontario. The couple have
seven children. The couple have appeared as sol artists, as a duo and have
performed and recorded together with their fiddle playing children. She has
begun to mix her Cape Breton roots music with Celtic and American bluegrass
music. She has received a number of Canadian music awards, including several
"Artist of the Year" awards from the
East Coast Music
for best instrumental album, and "Fiddler of the Year" from the
Music Association. In 2006 she was inducted as a Member of
the Order of Canada. (2019)
Born June 12, 1945, Quebec City, Quebec. Died January 16, 2013, As a
youngster she showed musical talent with the piano. As an adult she would
record he playing with Quality Records of Canada, Master Recordings, and
Gemstone Records. She made two concert tours crossing the country she loved.
She married composer David Mills.
Obituaries The Globe and Mail January 19, 2013.
submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
Born July 4, 1905 Montreal, Quebec. Died May 9, 1997
Montreal, Quebec. In 1926 she travelled to Brussels on a scholar ship to
study piano. Returning home to Canada she joined the Dubois String Quartet
and played 20 years as a member of the group. From 1936-1964 she was a
pianist for the Montreal Symphony. A linguist who knew Spanish, Italian and
German the translated and published opera librettos. Orchestra. She
worked as a music coach at McGill University and the Ecole normale de
musique in Montreal. In 1980 she was inducted as a Member of the Order of
Canada. In 1982 she received the Calixa-Lavallée Award and in 1987 she
became Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec.
Born September 20, 1890 Fort Calgary, Alberta. Died August 19, 1963. When
she was just 4 her mother Minnie took her to live in San Francisco,
California, U.S.A. and made sure Kathleen received violin lessons. Her 1st
teacher labeled her a child prodigy. Kathleen made her professional
debut in 1907 in Berlin Germany. Known as ‘the Lady of the Golden Bow’ she
toured Europe, Russia, North America and Asia. On
January 1, 1905 the 14 year old Kathleen arrived in England to perform with
the London Symphony Orchestra
and from there she became the 1st foreign student at the St
Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. At 17 she was doing solo recitals on a
very tight living budget tour of Europe. While in Norway she gained a patron
and received a violin
del Gesù created in 1735, which remained her primary instrument.
During her 3rd North American tour she recorded several pieces
for Columbia Records. She also toured Hawaii, the Far East, China, and
Japan. At 40 she turned more and more to teaching to ensure an income.
Her 1st faculty appointment was to the music department of Mills
College in Oakland, California. Kathleen also organized a string quartet. In
1933, Mills College awarded her an honorary Master of Arts degree and by the
summer of 1935, she had formed the South Mountain Parlow Quartet in
Massachusetts. In 1936 she took an appointment at the prestigious Juilliard
School of Music. By 1940 she had returned to Canada where in 1941 the Royal
Conservatory of Music in Toronto engaged her for a series of
lecture-recitals. In Toronto
formed The Canadian Trio. In 1942 she formed her 3rd string quartet,
entitled simply The
String Quartet. This group, for 15 years, performed only in Canada and for
the CBC. From financial necessity, Parlow continued performing, giving a
concert series in Toronto in January 1958. As her career wound down she had
no pension and by 1959, for not the 1st time in her career, she relied on
the generosity of others Her friends, established a fund for her support. In
October 1959, friends arranged for the 70-year-old violinist to be appointed
head of strings at the College of Music of the University of Western
Kathleen Parlow, Violinist and teacher (1890-1963) Collections Canada
National Library of Canada. (accessed 2000)
Born Winnipeg, Manitoba January
2, 1912. Died February 5, 2000. One of the first Canadian composers to use
avant-garde techniques, she has helped introduce 2 generations of young
Canadians to modern Music. She was named to the Order of Canada in 1989.
Born Edmonton, Alberta January 31, 1967.
She began Cello lessons at age 3! She had her first public performance at
age 6! It is no wonder this musical prodigy was accepted in the gifted youth
programme at the Banff centre for the Arts in Alberta. She went to Yale
University in the U.S. to earn a degree in art history and returned to
studying the cello at the Yale School for Music. Her New York debut was in
1983. Since then she has performed world wide and made numerous recordings.
In 1994 she accepted a position to teach cello at the University of Toronto.
née Coulombe. Born
August 9 1938 Notre-Dame-de-la-Doré, Quebec. Died February 2, 1985
Montreal, Quebec. Micheline studied at the Ecole de musique Vincent-d"indy,
the Conservatoire de musique du Québec and the Conservatoire de Paris in
France. She was a composer and teacher who played a profound role in the development
of contemporary music in both North America and Europe.
commissioned to write works for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the
Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) and the Quebec Contemporary Music
Society. In 1967 she earned the Prix d'Europe for her work. In 1969 she
co-founded Groupe international de musique electroacoustique de Paris and
back in Montreal she was co-founder of the Ensemble Polycousmie in 1971. She
taught music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec.
Born Dunedin, New Zealand September 21,
1934. A child prodigy on the piano she studied first in New Zealand and then
winning scholarships she studied in London, England and Europe. She settled
in Calgary, Alberta in 1963 and that same year won the Harriet Cohen
Commonwealth Medal. She has toured and performed throughout North America,
Europe and in her homeland of New Zealand. She founded the Chinook Piano
Competition , which became a national event by 1985. She formed part of the
Chinook Trio with Susan Hoeppner (flutist) and Ofra Harnoy (cellist) and
later joined the Canadian Piano Trio, an ensemble in-residence at Your
University in Toronto. She was artistic director of the Chamber Music
Society of Calgary and hosted a Calgary TV program called Musical Portraits.
She has also enjoyed a career in teaching with the Toronto Royal
Conservatory of Music. and at a private studio. She has received awards for
her contribution to her community from both provincial governments of
Alberta and Ontario.
Ruth Lowe Sandler
Born August 12, 1914 Toronto, Ontario. Died January 4, 1981, Toronto,
Ontario. Ruth was born with Canadian/U.S.A. parents and became a naturalized
Canadian in 1942. She lived in California during her early teen years but by
16 she was promoting the sale of sheet music by playing the tunes on piano
at Toronto music stores. Using the name Nancy Lee she worked in Toronto
night clubs and in 1933 worked with singer George Taggart on radio station
CKNC. She sang with a female vocal trio, The Shadows and performed with some
of the big bands of the era. In the med to late 1930’s she was working with
bands in the U.S.A. In 1938 she married Harold Cohen a Chicago music
publicist. He died during surgery the following year. Back in Toronto in
1939 she composed the son ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ after the death of
her husband. She offered the song to a member of the famous Tommy Dorsey
Band and Dorsey (1905-1956) gave the song to his male singer Frank Sinatra
(1915-1998). It proved to be a big hit for the famous crooner. In 1942 she
penned ‘Put your Dreams Away for Another Day’ which was also picked
up by Sinatra becoming his closing theme song at his concerts. The song was
also played at his funeral. The song was also covered by crooner Perry Como
(1912-2001), Barry Manilow (1943- ) and Canadian singer Gisèle MacKenzie
(1927-2003). Ruth retired from performing in the early 1940’s but continued
to compose. In 1945 she married Nathan Sandler and the couple had two sons.
In 1982, just a year after her death she was induced into the American Music
Hall of Fame and given an honorary Grammy Award. The Musical ‘Ruthie’
is based on her life and staged in 1990 in Toronto. Her story is also
chronicled in the documentary ‘I’ll Never Smile Again: The Ruth Lowe
Story by Great North Productions Inc. in 2001.
Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia, Online Accessed March 2016.
Born February 4, 1837, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Died November 10, 2010. While
still a tee Ann began composing music after attending a summer music camp in
Banff, Alberta. She went on to study composition at the Royal Conservatory
of Music and attended the University of Toronto from 1960-63 learning
electronic music. By 1966 she was a teacher at the Royal Conservatory of
Music. She began a collaboration with the
New Dance Group of Canada
(later known as
Toronto Dance Theatre)
in 1967, where she became composer-in-residence in 1968. She was a
founding member, and served as the 1st president from 1980–88
Association of Canadian
Women Composers. Ann was also an associate composer of the
Canadian Music Centre, which named its recording collection the Ann Southam
Digital Audio Archive. She was awarded with the Friends of Canadian Music
Award in 2001. She was appointed a Member of the
Order of Canada
in 2010 Her she left $14 million to the Canadian Women's Foundation.
Ronald Napier: A guide to Canada's composers ; Willodale, Avondale Press.
Montreal Quebec, August 25, 1910.Died February 16, 2012. The violin is her personal instrument of
choice. She studied in Canada and the U.S. She was the first woman soloist
heard on radio when she performed under conductor Fritz Reiner the
Tchaikovsky “Concerto. “ She Founded the New York Women’s Chamber Orchestra
and when she returned to live in Quebec in 1940 she founded and became the
conductor of the 80 member Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra. In 1947 the
women were the first Canadian Symphony Orchestra to play in the famous
Carnegie Hall in New York City!! The Orchestra would continue to perform
well into the 1960’s. Ethel has been awarded many honours for her
contributions to the Canadian music scene. She has received an honorary
doctorate from the University of Calgary, the Order of Canada and the Canada
125 Medal in 1992.
Born September 5, 1934, Portsmouth, England. Valerie learned to play the
piano as a child. Her extraordinary talent started her on a career as a
concert pianist when before she was 12 she had broadcast for the BBC and was
appearing regularly before the public on the concert platform. She was one
of the youngest students ever to be admitted to the Royal Academy of Music.
A bursary took her to Paris to study in 1955-1956. . She has played in most
of the major concert halls and appeared with many of the leading orchestras
and conductors in England, Europe and North America. In 1971 she settled to
live in Canada. In 1976 she became Associate Professor of Music at McMaster
University, Hamilton, Ontario. In 1980 she was1st Artist-in-Residence at
McMaster University. She enjoys playing all sorts of music from Bach, Liszt,
and Chamber music to contemporary composers. She has been awarded several
distinctions for her services to music including being an early recipient of
the Harriet Cohen Award. The Liszt Memorial Plaque was bestowed on her by
the Hungarian Minister of Culture in recognition of her lifelong promotion
of Franz Liszt's music. Valerie had presented at numerous radio (BBC and
CBC) and her works have also been recorded for sale and distribution.
Blanche van Ginkel
née Lemco. Born
December 14, 1923,London, England. Blanche
and her husband are Architects and urban planners.
They have worked on plans for old city of Montreal, new Montreal,
New York City, Calgary, and even development sites for the Canadian
Arctic. She was Dean of Architecture at the University of Toronto,
Organist and composer
Born August 21, 1929, Laval-des-Rapides, Quebec. Jeannine studied music at
the Institut Nazareth and the University of Montreal in 1950. In 1949 she
won 2nd prize in the Casavat Society competition and in 1952 she
won the Royal Canadian College of Organists top prize. She was organist at
St Paul-de-la-Croix church from 1952 until 1974. She taught at Institut
Nazareth from 1955 through 1970and later until 1983 she taught at the
University of Montreal. In 1962 she won a competition sponsored by the
Canadian Amateur Musicians. In late 1970’s and through the 1980’s she was
organist at various parishes in Montreal. Some of her original manuscripts
are on deposit at the Bibliotheque du Quebec.
Jane Elizabeth Vasey
16, 1949, Winnipeg Manitoba. Died July 6, 1982, Toronto, Ontario. Jane loved
music and began piano lessons at 6. She performed on the CBC television’s
Call all Children. She earned the Earl Ferguson Award at the Manitoba Music
Festival. In 1970 she graduated from the University of Manitoba. She played
for a short while for the Winnipeg Ballet School before relocating to
Toronto to further studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She played
for ballet classes, the Global Village Theater, the Toronto Workshop Theatre
and the Young Peoples’ Theatre. A;; the while she was composting music for
Carol Bold Plays. It was during this time that she came to love and perform
the blues. In 1973 she joined the all male band Downchild Blues Band . The
group would record 6 albums together and travel to demanding crowds
throughout North America. She played with the Band in Toronto when she
became too ill with leukemia to travel. Brandon University established a
scholarship for piano Performance in her memory.
Source: Jane Vasey. Manitoba Music Museum. Online (Accessed May 2014)
Born April 13, 1914, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Died November 7, 2011, Kalona,
British Columbia. She received her 1st violin at the age of 5.
Her passion for the musical instrument lasted a lifetime. As a child prodigy
she performed throughout western Canada. IN 1932 she was noticed by a
Hungarian violinist, Geza DeKresz and she was invited to Hungary to study in
Budapest and later in Salzburg. She returned to Canada in 1937 where, in
Ottawa, she played for the CBC Radio. It was here that she met and married
Armond Weisbord. The couple had two daughters. They often perform together
and were well known. She often joked that she played second fiddle to her
husband. She took over Armond’s job of playing the violin at the Chateau
Laurier while he served his country during the war for four years. Later in
life she backed up for the entertained Rod Stewart. She also enjoyed
teaching violin to the children in Ottawa before she retired to British
Columbia to be closer to her family.
Source: “Concert violinist Loved to Teach Young Children” by Margaret Wilson
Weisbord, Ottawa Citizen, November 3, 2012 : Obituary, Ottawa
Citizen, November 19, 2011. .
Suggestion submitted by June Coxon, Ottawa, Ontario.
née Ruhdorfer . Born Vienna, Austria July 17, 1910.
Died February 7, 1987. She and her husband, a chemist,
immigrated to Canada and settled on the West coast in
1939. She was active in the local music life of her new
home. She began to have a vivid interest in the Music of
West Coast aboriginal culture. She was the first person
to formally study this music. She would eventually
produce 4 albums of First Nations’ Songs. She became
Director of the Academy of Music. Her work was
recognized when in 1978 she was presented as a Member to
the Order of Canada.
Source: The History of Metropolitan Vancouver
– Hall of Fame.
http://www.vancouverhistory.ca (Accessed June 2009)
née Adamson. Born June 16, 1912, Sutherland
Saskatchewan. Died April 13, 2011, Cochrane, Alberta.
Music was a part of Anne’s family life growing up.
Besides living an a music loving home there was also
church choir. At 8 years of age she began formal singing
lessons. At 14 she was conducting the church choir. She
went on to earn level certificates and Licentiate in
Music in piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music. In
1939 she married Don Campbell. The young couple settled
in Calgary, Alberta and raised their 2 children. Anne
taught voice and piano and of course there was the music
at Wesley United Church. By 1953 she was in Lethbridge,
Alberta where the family home soon filled with music
students. She formed the Lethbridge Junior Girls Choir
and by 1963 a second group, the Teen-Clefs. Shortly
after the Anne Campbell Singers was formed. There was
also the group for girls 6-8 years and as the girls grew
older there was the Linnet Singers. There were
performances at church, fall operettas, spring sing
concerts and the Kiwanis Music festivals throughout the
Canadian west. These events paved the way to national
and international competitions in the United Kingdom,
Europe and Japan where they dressed in the official
Alberta tartan. The appeared as part of Expo ’67 during
Canada’s Centennial celebration and the group would
record 13 albums. In 1976 Anne received the Governor’s
General Medal for her commitment to music. In 1978 she
received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and in 1983 she
received an honorary degree from Lethbridge University.
Sources: Lisa Wajna, Great Canadian Women: Nineteen
portraits of extraordinary women. (Folklore
Publishing, 2005) ; R. Dale McIntosh, Anne Campbell
(2012) Canadian Encyclopedia Online (Accessed