Musicians & composers
Born Vancouver, British Columbia June 11, 1914. 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 Ridgetown, Ontario August 23, 1900. Died March
8, 2001. She 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. She was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1976. The couple
retired in 1991 and settled in Vancouver.
Cora Bell Ahrens
Born Stratford, Ontario January 23, 1891. Died August 26,
1964. She studied music in Toronto where she received her B. MUS. She
played in a trio which accompanied silent movies in Stratford theatres. In
the 1930's she was one of the firs 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 6 volumes and
Rudiments of Music (Toronto 1943-46) which was 9 volumes. She was co-author
of For all Piano teachers (Oakville, 1955 reprinted 1980) which was
translated into Braille in 1985 for blind musicians.
Montreal, Quebec April 24, 1913. Died February 21, 2000. She studied music
with the best of her era. As a composer she has produced a wide variety of
scores for voice, instrumentals, films and even a comic opera. She taught in
the U.S.A. but moved to teach at the University of Alberta before she
retired. She was named composer of the Year in Canada and was the first
North American woman composer to be honoured with a festival of her own
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 Montreal, Quebec. March 17, 1972. 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 Montreal 1898. 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 Umen, Ukraine September 6, 1908. She was studding 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 193'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.
Born Quebec, Quebec August 26, 1929. 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 Beauchamp-Huppé
née Beauchamp. Born Montreal, Quebec December 12, 1907. 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 Montreal, Quebec June 20, 1959. She 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 East Angus, Quebec September 27, 1923. 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.
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 NAC 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
www.lindabouchard.com ; Women in Ottawa; Mentors and Milestones
http://womeninottawa.blogspot.com accessed June 2011.
Born Montreal, Quebec May 21, 1941. 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.
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 Picton, Ontario November 4, 1881. 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 Concord,
Massachusetts, U.S.A. February 21, 1908. 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 Harbin, China 1916. 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.
February 15, 1940. After her university studies she taught mathematics but
she still kept up her interest in music and composing. She is a mother of
children who no doubt enjoy the songs their mother writes. 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 Edmonton, Alberta April 11, 1915. 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 Cadoret (Sister St-Jean-du Sacré-Coeur)
Born Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A. February
29, 1908. She received her teaching diploma and studied music in Montreal.
She especially enjoyed studies in Gregorian Chants. She was director of
Ecole normale de musique and general director of Musical Studies of the
Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame in Montreal. She composed choral
works, masses, cantatas, songs and arrangements for folksongs, many of which
née Caron. Born Louisville, Quebec 1906.
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 Sorel, Québec April 4, 1867. 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 in France in 1901 and of the Instruction Publique
of France in 1912.
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 Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.
October 28,1974. 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.
Vancouver, British Columbia February 10, 1908. 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. Died
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 Montreal May 7,1951. This pianist
studied in Montreal, Paris, and the Julliard School in New York City. She is
celebrated as one of the great interpreters of the music of the composer
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 is the founding director of the successful Piano
six bringing together some of Canada's greatest classical pianists,
instrumentalists and vocalists with Canadians who , for either geographical
or financial reasons would otherwise be unable to here this caliber of live
classical performance. In 2000 Piano Six won the Chalmers Award, one of
Canada's top Arts Awards. In 2001 she married
and in 2002 she became an Officer in the Order of Canada.
In 2003 she had major surgery of
muscle transfer on her left arm. Not wanting to stop performing she changed
arrangements to right hand playing and continued to perform! In 2004 she was
once again performing concerts using both hands.
In 2012 she was
presented with the Governor’s General Performing Arts Lifetime Achievement
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 RCM 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.
Born Ottawa, Ontario July 26, 1958. 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)
Diana Krall .
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.
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 UBC 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.
30, 1949 Vancouver, British Columbia. She studied piano as a child and at 17
became an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Piano performance.
She went on to study music graduating with a BA from the University of
British Columbia, Vancouver before attending University of California, San
Diego, U.S.A. for her post graduate work. She taught piano, theory and
electronic composition at City Colleges of Pasadena and Los Angeles before
moving to Toronto in 1980 to work as a freelance composer for concert,
dance, television and film. She married Alex Pauk a Canadian music director
and conductor, the couple have two children. Her works have been performed
by the Vancouver Symphony at Expo 86, the Montreal Symphony for United
Nations Day 1989, the Toronto Symphony during their tour of Europe just to
name a few. In 1986 she was Canadian Composer of the Year, followed in 1988
with Juno Awards for best classical work and was nominated in this same
category once again in 1988. In 1990 she was presented with the 1st
SOCAN Concert Music Award which earned again in 1992 and 2003. In 1996 she
was Composer in Residence with the Canadian Opera Company. She completed a
full length Opera the Scarlet Princess which took five years to complete. In
2001 she was inducted into the Order of Canada.
Societé de music contemporaine du Québec Online accessed March 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 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 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
Notre-Dame-de-la-Doré, Quebec August 19,1938. Died February 2, 1985. She was a composer and teacher who played a profound role in the development
of contemporary music in both North America and Europe.
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.
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.
Montreal Quebec, August 25, 1916.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,
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