Author Archive for Tyler Greenleaf

Congratulations! You did it! It’s Convocation Day! #tbt

Today is convocation day for our 2019 graduates! Congratulations! Represent us well.

With thanks to John Tuttle (featured in a #tbt last fall) for his organ playing in Convocation Hall for all University of Toronto graduates.

With just over 7,000 graduates, Faculty of Music alumni perform, teach, compose, produce, administer, record and research music around the world.

Here are some candid shots of the class of 2001 on their June convocation day:

More recently, here is Dean Don McLean presenting Dr. Elaine Choi with the 2018 William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award:

Dean Don McLean with Dr. Elaine Choi, 2018 post-convocation reception on MacMillan Theatre Stage

Established in 2005, the William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award created by Dr. William Waters and the Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award created by Dr. John B. Lawson are, at $25,000 each, the largest awards given by the Faculty of Music. The competitive application process is open to graduating students who are Ontario residents and includes a student submission outlining future plans and how the award will assist with career development, and letters of recommendation from faculty members.

List of previous recipients:

Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award

2018 – Joel Allison (MMus Opera 2018)
2017 – Younggun Kim (DMA Piano Performance 2017)
2016 – Emily D’Angelo (BMusPerf Voice 2016)
2015 – Charles Sy (MMus Opera 2015, BMusPerf Voice 2013)
2014 – Alexandra Smither (BMusPerf Voice 2014)
2013 – Andrew Haji (MMus Opera 2013, BMusPerf Voice 2011)
2012 – Riho Maimets (MMus Composition 2012)
2011 – Leslie Ann Bradley (MMus Voice Performance 2011, OpDip 2002, BMusPerf Voice 2000)
2010 – Lindsay Barrett (OpDip 2010)
2009 – Christopher Ku (MA Music 2009, BMus 2007)
2008 – Lucille Mok (BMus 2008)
2007 – Christopher Donnelly (MMus 2007 Jazz Piano, BMusPerf Jazz Piano 2005)
2006 – Ryan Jackson (BMusPerf Organ 2006)

William and Phyllis Waters Graduating Award
2018 – Elaine Choi (DMA Conducting 2018, MMus 2010, BMus 2008)
2017 – Matthew Emery (MMus Composition 2017)
2016 – Bianca Chambul (BMusPerf Bassoon 2016)
2015 – Michael Bridge (BMusPerf Accordion 2015)
2014 – David Zucchi (BMusPerf Saxophone 2014)
2013 – Matt Woroshyl (BMusPerf Jazz Saxophone 2013)
2012 – Coco Chen (BMusPerf Violin 2012)
2011 – Laura Silberberg (MMus Composition 2010, BMus 2008)
2010 – Alex Goodman (BMusPerf Jazz Guitar 2010)
2009 – Lauren Sweetman (MA Music Ethnomusicology 2009, BMus 2007)
2008 – Katarzyna Sadej (MMus Voice Performance 2008)
2007 – Stephen Hegedus (MMus Voice Performance 2007, BMusPerf Voice 2005)
2006 – Sarah Nematallah (BMusPerf Violin 2006)

Celebrating Professors Jim Kippen, Dennis Patrick, and Cam Walter #tbt

The Faculty of Music would like to thank Professors Jim Kippen, Dennis Patrick, and Cam Walter for their dedication to music and education, as well as their service to the University of Toronto and the academic music community at large.

We wish you all the best in your retirement!


Professor Jim Kippen and his wife Dr. Annette Sanger joined the Faculty of Music in January 1990.

Prof Jim Kippen (far left) with Balinese Gamelan Ensemble in Edward Johnson Building lobby, December 1997. Wife and UofT Music instructor Dr. Annette Sanger is on right foreground.

He studied under the pianist and conductor David Parry before developing an interest in Hindustani music and Javanese gamelan at the University of York (UK) under Neil Sorrell. He studied Social Anthropology and Ethnomusicology under John Blacking and John Baily at Queen’s University, Belfast.

His doctoral research in Lucknow, India, dealt with tabla drumming in its sociocultural context, particularly as interpreted by his teacher, the hereditary master Afaq Hussain Khan. He held two post-doctoral fellowships for computer-assisted musical analysis, and taught Anthropology and Ethnomusicology courses at Queen’s before joining the University of Toronto.

World Music Ensemble performance with Prof Kippen, early 2000s

Since then he has been awarded three major research grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to pursue investigations into cultural concepts of time in Indian music and society, and the changing theory and practice of rhythm and metre in Hindustani music. He continues to study and practise both tabla and pakhavaj drums. He also studies and performs Balinese gendèr wayang music with the ensemble Seka Rat Nadi.

Prof Kippen, who once was a babysitter for Beatles producer George Martin’s children, also taught a popular course on the Beatles.

Windsor Star article, January 20, 1996

A symposium and concert were held in March 2019 to celebrate and honor Prof Kippen and Dr. Sanger.


Composer Dennis Patrick received his Bachelor of Music in 1974 and Master of Music in composition in 1975 from U of T Music and was appointed to teach at the Faculty in 1977.

Dennis Patrick circa 1980
Composition Professor Dennis Patrick, promotional EP 1982.
Composition Professor Dennis Patrick, promotional EP 1982.

Dennis Patrick went on to be the longtime Director of the Electronic Music Studio as well as prolific concert producer with the annual New Music Festival. He composed music for several award-winning radio plays written by the Canadian authors Timothy Findley and Michael Ondaatje, including The English Patient, The Trials of Ezra Pound, In the Skin of a Lion, and Famous Last Words.

Alumna Dr. Lynn Kuo performing “Squamish” by Dennis Patrick and Michael Pepa.


Dr. Cam Walter was appointed Assistant Professor of Music Education and Performance at the Faculty of Music starting July 1, 1994 to conduct the Concert Band, coach brass chamber ensembles, teach applied trombone and euphonium as well as courses in instrumental music education and jazz education.

Cam Walter, 1994 headshot by V. Tony Hauser

Dr. Walter received his Bachelor of Music in 1975 and Master of Music in 1976 from the Faculty. He received his Doctorate of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1994. Prior to his appointment he taught for the Scarborough and Etobicoke Boards of Education as well as the Toronto French School and Royal Conservatory of Music.

Cam Walter (back row centre) with a Brass Ensemble in rehearsal early 1970s

From delivering babies to delivering world premieres by Britten to delivering a new Faculty of Music building: meet Dean Boyd Neel #tbt

“It seems to come as a complete surprise to many people, especially in United Kingdom, that Canada has a vital musical life of its own, both as regards performance and creative activity. That this should be so is due chiefly Canadians themselves, who are the most backward of all people in spreading abroad the facts of their cultural life. Apart from this, they are ill-served their own musicians, who arrive in large numbers in the United Kingdom telling everybody that they have come because there is nothing for them to in Canada.”

-Boyd Neel, “Music in Canada”, Tempo, No. 38 (Winter, 1955-1956), pp. 7-9, Cambridge University Press.

As someone who was originally a surgeon and family practitioner, conductor Boyd Neel started an orchestra in 1932 of highly trained amateurs in London at age 28 at a time when there were no smaller ensembles performing.

The city took notice after its debut on June 22, 1933 (following which Neel delivered a baby!), fame was quickly achieved, and a number of performances and recordings were made. The Boyd Neel Orchesta led a revival of the performance of and interest in baroque music.

Following a brief pause for Dr. Neel to assist injured soldiers in the war, the Boyd Neel Orchestra toured England and Europe beginning in 1934. In 1937 they commissioned Benjamin Britten for Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge and the work had its premiere at the Salzberg Festival.

Following a reorganization with the Faculty of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1952 where Sir Ernest MacMillan retired as Dean and Arnold Walter was made Director of the Faculty of Music, Chair of the Board of Directors of the RCM, Edward Johnson sought out a new Dean, one preferably who was English to “create a proper Canadian balance, whatever that might mean”, according to Ezra Schabas. (from There’s Music in These Walls, p133)

Finding someone with no academic experience, no music degrees, and no administrative experience seemed curious for a choice for Dean, but that was who took over in 1953.

In his time as Dean (overseeing both the RCM and the Faculty of Music), Boyd Neel led the school towards creating a new music school building at the University of Toronto. He also wished to ensure ongoing training of musicians and to encourage a vibrant music scene in Canada.

The old music building owned by the RCM was sold to Toronto Hydro in February 1962.

The northside of the Toronto (Royal) Conservatory of Music building on southside of College, 1963 by Norman James, courtesy of Toronto Star Archives, TPL

Working closely with U of T president Claude Bissell, Boyd Neel moved forward with developing the Edward Johnson Building as well as renovating McMaster Hall on Bloor Street (home of the Royal Conservatory of Music). Classes at the Edward Johnson Building began in fall 1962. The RCM moved into McMaster Hall in March 1963.

Edward Johnson Building in May 1963, photo by Harold Whyte

Neel’s work as a conductor did not conclude when he arrived in Canada. In 1954 he founded the Hart House Orchestra. The Hart House Orchestra went on tour Canada and Europe. It continued until his retirement as both Dean and conductor in 1971.

Neel was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1972. He published his memoirs My Orchestras and Other Adventures in 1985. He died of cancer on September 30, 1981 at the age of 76.

Additional resources

Boyd Neel at The Canadian Encyclopedia

Boyd Neel Wikipedia page

The Faculty of Music evolves into 2000s with Deans Paul Pedersen, David Beach, and Gage Averill #tbt

PAUL PEDERSEN, Dean 1990-1995

After graduating from the Faculty of Music with a composition Master’s degree in 1961, Paul Pedersen taught math and science classes at Parkdale Collegiate in west end Toronto. He eventually went to McGill to teach while completing his PhD in musicology in 1970.

Paul Pedersen, photo by John Winiarz

At the Faculty of Music at McGill he chaired the theory department and was dean there from 1976 to 1986. In 1990 he returned to Toronto to became Dean, a position he held until 1995. During his time (in which he also managed deep cuts from central UofT administration) he implemented the Jazz Studies Program and completed the installation of a new recording studio. Professor Pedersen retired July 1, 2001.

Collection summary of Paul Pedersen archives at McGill

Paul Pedersen Canadian Encyclopedia entry

DAVID BEACH, Dean 1996-2004

Following receiving his PhD from Yale, David Beach taught at there for seven years, where he also served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music. Following a one-year appointment at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, he accepted a position at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, where he taught for twenty-two years.

At Eastman, he served for several years as Chair of the Department of Music Theory and for three years as Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Rochester.

In the words of Professor Beach:

I remember very clearly that day in September 1995 sitting in my office at the Eastman School of Music thinking ‘I’ve done this before’ – I had just returned to my old job as chair of the department of Music Theory after four years as Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Rochester – when the phone rang. It was Edward Laufer (MusBac 1957, MusM comp), a long-time professional colleague, urging me to apply for the position of Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. What timing! I was ready for a new challenge, so I sent along a copy of my C.V., and one thing led to another until, next thing I knew, [my wife] Marcia and I were headed for Toronto.

While he was Dean, Professor Beach greatly expanded the graduate program including adding the first PhD program in Music Education in Ontario, growing the composition and ethnomusicology programs, as well as the performance programs for conducting and opera.

Dean David Beach speaking at the Student Awards Reception, 2000

Also of note was the growth of fundraising at the Faculty under Prof Beach, where over $14 million was raised, of which $5.5 million was for scholarships for students.

Professor Beach is known primarily as a leading proponent of the theories of Heinrich Schenker, an Austrian musician who died in 1935. Professor Beach has published over forty articles in leading academic journals and published/edited several books.

GAGE AVERILL, Dean 2004-2007

From driving a tractor to becoming Dean, Prof Gage Averill has had a diverse career.

From the Vancouver Sun in 2010: “[Gage Averill] dropped out of the University of Wisconsin in the early 1970s to play fiddle in an Irish band and do community organizing. He also started one of the first world music radio shows in the States, relocated to Seattle, and paid the bills driving a school bus and a tractor.

He hurt his back, which led him to return to school. In Wisconsin he had studied forestry, but at the University of Washington he found his true calling, ethnomusicology. He became an expert on Haitian music and embarked on a sterling academic career that has taken him from Columbia University to Wesleyan, New York University and the University of Toronto.”

Prof Averill joined the Faculty in 2004 and embarked on a five-year strategic plan to enhance the student experience at the Faculty of Music. He established the comprehensive degree option and expanded graduate programs. His work on the plan ended when he was appointed Vice Principal Academic and Dean at University of Toronto-Mississauga in October 2007. Prof Averill was later nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for his project, Alan Lomax in Haiti: Recordings For The Library of Congress, 1936-1937.

Teresa Stratas: the Canadian-born soprano who became one of the most celebrated opera singers, on and off-screen, of our time. #tbt

Teresa Stratas was born on May 26, 1938, in Cabbagetown, Toronto, into a family of Greek decent. Her family owned a restaurant, where the young Stratas sang Greek folk songs in exchange for pennies. When she was twelve years old, she appeared on the CBC Radio’s program Songs of My People, where she performed Greek pop songs.

When Stratas was sixteen years old, she attended her first opera, which happened to be La Traviata. Stratas was astounded by the performance and, the same year, decided to audition at the Royal Conservatory of Music, having never previously received any formal vocal training, and having only ever seen one opera in her entire life. At the audition, she sang “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”, and yet her artistic potential was so great that she earned a three-year scholarship. At the Conservatory, Stratas studied with U of T Voice’s own Irene Jessner who said about Stratas’ talent and perfectionist nature, “Something has to be absolutely 100 per cent. Otherwise she doesn’t do it.” Stratas later returned to Toronto to study at U of T, and graduated from the Faculty of Music with an Artist Diploma in 1959, again under the instruction of Irene Jessner.

Stratas’ professional opera debut was at age twenty, at the Toronto Opera Festival (which later was to become the Canadian Opera Company), where she sang the role of Mimì in La bohème. The next year, she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, from which came the opportunity to perform the role of Poussette in Manon at the Metropolitan Opera. Thus began a thirty-six year career at the Metropolitan Opera, where she appeared in 385 performances of 41 different roles.

While having a strong partnership with the Metropolitan Opera, Stratas also had the opportunity to perform with several of the world’s largest opera companies, including the Bolshoi Opera, Vienna State Opera, San Francisco Opera, Paris Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Salzburg Festival and the Canadian Opera Company. Interestingly as well, on the Metropolitan Opera’s opening night of 1995, Stratas performed both the lead soprano roles in Pagliacci (opposite Luciano Pavarotti), and then Il Tabarro (opposite Placido Domingo).

It is her renowned acting prowess that sets Stratas apart as “the singing actor”. Not only did Stratas have an extremely successful career on the opera stage, but she also became well known for her performances on-screen. Her work in film took off in 1974, when she performed the title role in Strauss’ Salome, directed by Götz Friedrich, with the Vienna Philharmonic under Karl Böhm. She went on to participate in several movie-operas, such as The Bartered Bride (1978) with Nicolai Gedda and Jon Vickers, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1979) with Astrid Varnay and Richard Cassilly, La bohème (1981) with José Carreras and Renata Scotto, Pagliacci (1982) with Placido Domingo, and La Traviata (1982) with Placido Domingo. One notable later film performance in 1996, is Stratas’ role as the controlling mother of an autistic child (Megan Follows) in Under the Piano, a Canadian film directed by Stefan Scaini, for which she won a Gemini for best supporting actress.

Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1982 film, La Traviata

Stratas made history by creating roles in such important works as John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles (as Marie Antoinette), and Friedrich Cerha’s completed version of Alban Berg’s Lulu (in the title role), which premiered at the Paris Opéra in 1979 and was subsequently recorded, winning two Grammys.

Stratas also premiered and recorded many previously unpublished Kurt Weill songs which she received from Lotte Lenya, Weill’s widow with whom Stratas developed a very close friendship. Stratas released two albums featuring these Weill songs, The Unknown Kurt Weill and Stratas Sings Weill.

Stratas was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1972, and in 2000 was presented with the Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Performing Arts.

by Alexandra Brennan

Dean Dr. Arnold Walter, overseer of great growth at the Faculty #tbt

Following receiving a doctorate of law degree from University of Prague and studying musicology at University of Berlin, in 1937 Dr. Arnold Walter arrived in Toronto via Spain, where he had fled Nazi Germany. After teaching at Upper Canada College, he became director of the Royal Conservatory Senior School in 1946. He became dean of the Faculty of Music in 1952, a position he held until 1968.

In this article in The Whole Note, Professor Robin Elliott notes the importance of Dr. Walter’s arrival: “He was neither British nor Canadian, the first central European to arrive on faculty.”

The Canadian Encyclopedia sums up his extraordinary administrative and start up work in music education, opera, and information:

After immigrating to Canada in 1937, Arnold Walter became a visionary and influential leader of music education in Canada, developing musical talent and helping to build audiences for musical performance and appreciation. He introduced Carl Orff’s teaching method in North America, and established both the Senior School and the Opera School at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music). Under his tenure as director (1952–68), the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto attained international stature, with the first electronic music studio in Canada and one of North America’s most comprehensive music libraries. Walter was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1971.

Professor Doreen Hall and Dr. Walter brought the Orff Method of teaching to Toronto. Here is an interview in 1968 courtesy of the Ball St University Library:

The Electronic Music Studio was established under Dr. Walter’s time as Dean. From MacLean’s Magazine (George Pyke, “Made-to-Measure music that eliminates musicians, March 24, 1962):

The Toronto studio was established after Dr. Walter, who is head of the U. of T. music faculty, met [Hugh] Le Caine at a conference and listened to his ideas. Dr. Walter sees “space acoustics” as one fascinating future field for electronic composition. The new sound would be made to travel around an auditorium to 25 or more loudspeakers and inundate the audience from all sides — a sort of 25-way stereophonic sound. This, he thinks, would make the ghostly wails of science-fiction movies (which have already discovered electronic sound) as old-fashioned as the C major scale.

Dr. Walter had also hired Professor Harvey Olnick in 1954 to establish the first musicology program in Canada. Dr. Walter went on to establish graduate programs in composition, musicology, and music education at the same time. In 1965 he established the doctoral program in musicology.

Dean Boyd Neel, Dr. Ettore Mazzoleni and Dr. Arnold Walter in the MacMillan Theatre, Faculty of Music 1963 Jack Marshall & Co. Ltd

He also hired accomplished and influential instructors Kathleen Parlow to teach violin and pianist, vocal coach and accompanist Greta Kraus.

Arnold Walter died on October 6, 1973. In 1974 The Faculty of Music named its smaller performance hall in the Edward Johnson Building after him.

Arnold Walter portrait above entrance to Walter Hall in the Edward Johnson Building

Additional Resources:

Canadian Music Centre biography

Canadian Encyclopedia biography

Is Music the Frontier of Medical Science? Music and Health Research Collaboratory established in 2012 #tbt

Professor Lee Bartel led the creation of the Music and Health Research Collaboratory (MaHRC) in 2012. An early history of its development can be found here.

From this article by Jessica Lewis: “Yes we’re a music school that does performance but we do performance informed by technology, performance that has impact on medicine and health,” [Professor Bartel] says. “People have always assumed that there is a link between music and health from the way music makes you feel. Now we can demonstrate that in a scientific way”.

Bartel says that there are new frontiers in standard medical research that involve music and sound in a way was never anticipated. “It’s not just ‘music makes me feel happy therefore I walk faster thus my heart gets healthier,’ but because we are very specifically making sound in a particular way that has an indirect music-medicine affect on your brain.”

The Faculty of Music hosted The Sounds of Science: Music, Technology and Medicine on May 3, 2016 in collaboration with a number of other U of T Departments led by Professor Molly Shoichet.

Professor Michael Thaut and Professor Corene Hurt-Thaut joined the Faculty of Music in July 2015. Professor Michael Thaut was named Director, Music and Health Research Collaboratory (MaHRC) and Director, Music and Health Sciences Graduate Programs, and in fall 2017 was named a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Music, Neuroscience and Health.

Dr. Michael Thaut

In June 2018 the Faculty of Music’s first ever PhD in Music and Health Sciences convocated, Dr. Cheryl Jones. Her dissertation is titled Exploring Music-based Cognitive Rehabilitation Following Acquired Brain Injury: A Randomized Control Trail Comparing Attention Process Training and Musical Attention Control Training

Dr. Corene Hurt-Thaut

Led by Director Dr. Corene Hurt-Thaut, the International Training Institute in Neurologic Music Therapy kicks off its four day workshop today. Neurologic Music Therapy is defined as the therapeutic application of music to cognitive, sensory, and motor function due to neurologic disease of the human nervous system.

Neurologic Music Therapy is research-based. Its treatment techniques are based on the scientific knowledge in music perception and production and the effects thereof on nonmusical brain and behavior functions.

Populations served by Neurologic Music Therapists include, but are not limited to: stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, cerebral palsy, developmental disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and other neurological diseases affecting cognition, movement, and communication (e.g., MS, Muscular Dystrophy, etc).

Returning from WW1 POW camp 100 years ago, Ernest MacMillan became the centre of music in Toronto for decades to come. #tbt

Canada declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914 while Ernest MacMillan enjoyed performances in Bayreuth, Germany. He then went to Nuremberg to study and compose. Believing he had registered as a visitor-tourist, he misunderstood the notices that German police had posted requiring enemy aliens to report to the police, but remained wary as his British colleagues were arrested starting in November.

In January 1915 he was arrested and fined 3,000 marks (depending on how calculated that is very roughly $25,000 CDN in today’s dollars) and sentenced to 2 months in prison.

Ernest MacMillan at Ruhleben, back row far left.
Photo courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

Following prison he went to Ruhleben internment camp for British civilians near Berlin, where he became a musical leader of the 4,000-5,000 people (mostly men) held at a horse racing track including directing The Mikado and giving lectures on each of Beethoven’s nine symphonies.

Painting of a gala performance of The Mikado at the the British Civilian POW Camp, Ruhleben, Germany. This is photograph Art.IWM ART 6173 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

Returning to Canada in January 1919 he became organist and choirmaster at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in 1919 (staying there until 1926) and he immersed himself in musical life in Toronto.

Music Director and Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sir Ernest MacMillan riding a bicycle along University Avenue.  Photograph was taken by the Toronto Star in June, 1942 as he was leaving the Toronto Conservatory of Music for lunch.
Music Director and Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sir Ernest MacMillan riding a bicycle along University Avenue. Photograph was taken by the Toronto Star in June, 1942 as he was leaving the Toronto Conservatory of Music for lunch.

He was named principal of the Toronto (later Royal) Conservatory of Music in 1926, holding that position until 1942.

He was named dean of the Faculty of Music in 1927, holding that position until 1952.

During his time at the Faculty, he oversaw:

  • addition of music courses in 1934-35 year (MusBac and MusDoc degrees were awarded by exam only up to this point; academic courses were added following minor media hubbub of Percival Price, the Dominion Carilloneur at the Peace Tower in Ottawa, having his doctoral degree rejected by the Faculty),
  • the approval by U of T of a 4 year BA in Music degree for Arts & Science students in 1937,
  • a Music Education degree program established in 1946,
  • and the administrative separation of the Royal Conservatory of Music and Faculty of Music in 1952 that ultimately led to his academic retirement.
Sir Ernest MacMillan, 1948, at the piano with Godfrey Ridout, Prof. Leo Smith, John Weinzweig and Dr. Healey Willan surrounding him. The photograph was taken circa. 1948 by Nott and Mell. City of Toronto Archives series 1569, file 17, item 1

He became conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1931 and held that position until 1956.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 10th season, 1931-32,
and its first with conductor Ernest MacMillan, photo courtesy of City of Toronto Archives

He became conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in 1942, a position he held until 1956.

He was the first president of the Canadian Music Council in 1949, a position he held until 1966. This organization established the Canadian Music Centre in 1959.

He was the president of Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada (CAPAC) from 1947 to 1969.

In 1935 at there mere age of 42 Ernest MacMillan was knighted by King George V “for services to music in Canada.”

Lois Marshall and Sir Ernest MacMillan practicing before a concert at the CNE Bandshell in July 1964. Photo by Barry Philp

Sir Ernest MacMillan died forty six years ago on May 6, 1973 (NY Times Obituary).

Additional resources:

Sir Ernest MacMillan (1893-1973), Library and Archives Canada

Sir Ernest MacMillan, The Canadian Encyclopedia

Canadian Music Centre


Sir Ernest MacMillan: The Importance of Being Canadian by Ezra Schabas (U of T Press, 1996)

MacMillan on Music, edited by Carl Morey (Dundurn, 1997)

It’s recital season! A look at a few of our performance profs who have helped students get there: pianist Marietta Orlov, harpist Judy Loman, and cellist Shauna Rolston Shaw #tbt

Students have been full swing performing in their recitals the past couple months are there are many more to go. Here’s a look at a few professors who have worked with our students to get them to graduation.

Marietta Orlov

Marietta Orlov

Prof Orlov joined the Faculty of Music in fall of 1981 and has taught hundreds of pianists in her time here. She studied in her native Romania with the renowned teacher Florica Musicescu (teacher of Dinu Lipatti and Radu Lupu) and graduated from the Faculty of Music in Bucharest with a BMus in Performance and a Master’s Degree in Performance.

Starting at age of 16, she was active as a soloist for 10 years. During this time, she had the distinct honour of being appointed Romanian State soloist.

Prof Orlov has taught and presented master classes at the Aria International Summer Academy, the Chautauqua Festival in New York, International Institute for Young Musicians (Kansas) Oberlin College and the Toronto Summer Music Academy and Festival.

Marietta Orlov at piano, early 1980

Judy Loman

Judy Loman

Judy Loman is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with the celebrated harpist, Carlos Salzedo.

She has been Principal harpist with the Toronto Symphony since 1960, and has appeared as a soloist with that organization in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

She joined the Faculty of Music in 1966 and continues to teach. She was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2015 “for her service to the arts community as one of Canada’s renowned harpists.”

Shauna Rolston Shaw

[L-R] Cellist Dr. Dobrochna Zubek, Prof Shauna Rolston Shaw, and violinist Dr. Lynn Kuo in Walter Hall

Since receiving a mini cello for her 2nd birthday, Shauna has appeared around the world, performing with such distinguished artists as Krzysztof Penderecki, Sir Andrew Davis, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Keith Lockhart, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Hans Graf, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Andrey Boreyko, and Menahem Pressler, as well as undertaking innovative collaborations with Veronica Tennant, Evelyn Hart, and Peggy Baker.

She has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and was the featured artist at the 1988 Olympics.

Shauna earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Yale University and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music where she studied with the distinguished cellist and pedagogue, Aldo Parisot.

Prof Shauna Rolston Shaw joined the Faculty of Music in 1994.

Congratulations to all the students who have finished up their recitals and all the instructors and professors for their teaching this year! (And break a leg to all those who still have their recitals!)

Visiting Artists

The first visitor to the Edward Johnson Building in 1962 was composer and education Carl Orff, who taught the first International Conference on Elementary Music Education and introduced Orff Schulwerk to over 160 participants.

Since then, the Faculty of Music has hosted hundreds of visiting artists and lecturers throughout the academic year, enriching musical thought for students, faculty members, and the public.

Here are some profiles of just a few of those visitors: Hindustani vocalist Pandit Jasraj, Czech composer Karel Husa, jazz composer Maria Schneider, and avant-garde composer György Ligeti.

Pandit Jasraj

Pandit Jasraj performing in Convocation Hall; April 18, 1999; Faculty of Music Archives

An internationally revered guru, Hindustani vocalist Pandit Jasraj (1930) first performed on stage at the University of Toronto in Walter Hall on April 9th, 1995. This concert and subsequent live CD, (which can be found in our Music Library,) marked the establishment of a scholarship fund in his name for students studying Indian Classical Music. His second visit to the University of Toronto in 1999 was highlighted by a full-house concert at Convocation Hall, where he was the recipient of the Faculty of Music’s Distinguished Visitor Award. He was the first distinguished visitor of Indian Classical Music in the University’s history.

Jasraj is a vocalist with a range of three and a half octaves and is the foremost voice of the Mewati gharana tradition of Hindustani classical music. Although the Mewati gharana is a devotional musical practice, Jasraj’s reach extends beyond the sacred into semi-classical and popular fields. He has been featured on over 100 recordings since 1950, and has toured internationally to great acclaim.

Pandit Jasraj performing in Convocation Hall; April 18, 1999; Faculty of Music Archives

An honored pedagogue of his craft, Jasraj’s musical legacy revolves around the continued development of North Indian music at home and abroad. He has founded schools dedicated to the Mewati gharana, following its traditional pedagogical principles, in Toronto, Vancouver and New York, among others. For his contributions to Indian music and culture, Jasraj was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India.

“If there is one advice I would like to give it is practice, perfection and purity of notes that one has to be constantly be working upon. Music learning is an ongoing class. Nobody passes out. Every musician is a student forever.”

Jasraj in conversation with Shashank Subramanyam, 2006

Karel Husa

Karel Husa (1921-2016) was one of the preeminent Czech composers of the 20th Century. A student of Boulanger and Honegger, Husa was a composer of great regard, notably winning the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1969 for his String Quartet No. 3 and the Grawemeyer Award in 1993 for his Cello Concerto. Husa, like many of his contemporaries from the Eastern Bloc, left the communist and increasingly oppressive Czechoslovakia after his studies abroad. He then immigrated to the United States where he accepted positions at Cornell University and Ithaca College.

In addition to his orchestral acclaim, Husa is perhaps best known for his contributions to the Wind Ensemble repertoire. His Music for Prague 1968, written as a response to the brutal Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia has become a standard of the symphonic wind repertoire. Music for Prague has been programmed over 10,000 times since its composition, including three times at the Faculty of Music: February 15, 1976 (Dir. Stephen Chenette); April 1, 2006 (Dir. Darryl Eaton); and February 4, 2012 (Dir. Alain Cazes).

“I think that Music for Prague is popular because it offers a wonderful balance between technical challenge and artistic reward. It is a difficult piece to put together, and sometimes the musical language is a bit abstract, especially for players encountering Husa for the first time. But when it all comes together, the emotional impact of the piece for both players and audience is tremendous. I think the importance of its subject matter is also important – people have something they can hang on to as they listen. Husa used an old Hussite song as source material – a song of resistance that would have been known to all Czechs in the time Music for Prague was written. I think Music for Prague really opened up new possibilities for composers seeking to create new sounds – the attention of this important composers shone the spotlight on the potential of the wind band as an artistic medium.”

Dr. Gillian MacKay, Professor & Director of the Wind Ensemble

Husa visited the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music in November 1986 to conduct the Contemporary Music Ensemble (Dir. Robin Engelman) performance of his chamber work, Serenade (1963). Unfortunately, no recording of this performance is available at this time – although we would love to hear from you if you were there!

Maria Schneider

Maria Schneider (1960) is one of America’s foremost jazz musicians of our time. A genre-bending bandleader, pianist and composer, Schneider has notably won five GRAMMYs in both jazz and classical categories. Still active, Schneider continues to record, perform and teach around the world. A graduate of the University of Minnesota and the Eastman School, Schneider was awarded a NEA Apprenticeship Grant in 1985 to study with famed trombonist and bandleader Bob Brookmeyer, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 2012.

In addition to her artistic practice, Schneider is a prominent advocate for the rights of musicians in the digital age. She is an outspoken critic of YouTube, Spotify and other streaming services which, through legal loopholes and unethical practices, fail to both properly compensate creators for their work and protect their intellectual property. She has testified to this effect before the United States Congress, participated in round-table discussions with the United States Copyright Office, and appeared on television and numerous publications. She was a founding member of the artist advocacy organization musicanswers as well as the crowd-funded ArtistShare platform.

Schneider was the first (primarily) jazz composer to be named the Roger D. Moore Distinguished Visitor in Composition at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music in 2008-2009. On April 4th 2009, she conducted the U of T Jazz Orchestras in a concert of her music.

U of T 10 O’Clock Jazz Orchestra with Shannon Graham on saxophone, conducted by Maria Schneider, 2009.
U of T 10 O’Clock Jazz Orchestra with Shannon Graham on saxophone, conducted by Maria Schneider, 2009.

“Maria Schneider’s residency was a highlight of my time at U of T. Many of the students in the program, including myself, were very interested in jazz composition as well as performance and it was inspirational to learn from one of the most prominent composers in jazz today. It was wonderful to experience her unique style of conducting while playing in the big band. It was also important for me to see a woman occupy that role, as female leadership can unfortunately be a rarity in academic jazz programs.”

Shannon Graham (BMusPerf 11)

György Ligeti

One of the most influential and innovative composers of the 20th Century, Ligeti needs little introduction. A composer of Hungarian origin, he fled the Soviet regime and settled in Vienna in the late 1950s. This new period in his life marked a shift towards the avant-garde, away from the dodecaphonic style he formerly composed in. His avant-garde work is wide-ranging; earlier works from this period involved his trademark micropolyphony, widely popularized by its inclusion in the soundtrack of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Later, his compositional focus shifted away from sonorous explorations to those of rhythm. His three books of Études for piano are among the most popular of his compositions from this later period, and are widely considered as some of the finest piano writing of the late 20th Century.

Ligeti – Études pour piano, Book III, Étude 16

Ligeti visited the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music in 1973 for the CAPAC-MacMillan Lecture in MacMillan Theatre. Ligeti joined distinguished company, as other lecturers included Glenn Gould, Zoltan Kodaly, Ravi Shankar, Luciano Berio and Maureen Forrester. These lectures were held annually from 1963-1977 as part of the summer school curriculum and were originally facilitated by MacMillan. Ligeti’s 1973 lecture was the first after MacMillan’s death in May of that year.

This 1973 lecture addresses a variety of topics related to his compositional practice. Although primarily about his interest in electronic music, he discusses his unique notational style, harmonic language, micropolyphony, and even holograms.

Please enjoy this fascinating snippet of his lecture in MacMillan Theatre, courtesy of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music Library, where he explains his desire to create poetry through electronic sounds.  If interested in the full lecture or the others above, please inquire in our Music Library directly.

by James Conquer