Archive for professor

Faculty Christmas Party Memories

I also remember the annual Christmas party that was held in the lobby of the EJB. Members of the Faculty created performances that defy explanation or description but were enjoyed by all. I especially remember William Aide and his farmer routine. The late Dean Gus Ciamaga improvised with a rhythm section plus ‘yours truly’ and we always had to play his favourite “Blue Skies”. The Faculty of Music Dixieland Combo performed and you can imagine the sound of the ‘Legit-Dixie’ mix. There were also performances by special guests like MP Bob Rae (piano) and Oliver Jones with now Faculty member Dave Young. I recall that we were giving Oliver and Dave U of T Faculty of Music Jackets. When Oliver, who is small in stature, tried his on it was so big that he disappeared. We ordered another jacket in his size and I bought the oversized culprit, I still wear it today………miss those Christmas parties……THOSE WERE THE DAYS.

  • Professor Phil Nimmons, Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies

Jazz Program Beginnings

It’s 1973 and I was hired by then Dean John Beckwith and Performance Coordinator Ezra Schabas to take over directing the Faculty of Music Big Band from Ward Cole, who was leaving to go out west to the University of Calgary. The sessions were during the Fall and Spring terms on Mondays from 7 to 9pm and membership was voluntary from the entire University regardless of what Faculty and from the general public. During my early days with the band we didn’t always have a full complement and it was suggested that we put a trap line on Bloor Street to capture any busking musicians and bring them into the band. However, in the long run things improved and eventually there were 2 bands and they rehearsed from 7 to 9 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and full attendance was consistent. Little did we know, at the time, that this was the seminal beginning of the Jazz Program which later, after more than a few years, became a reality through Dean Paul Pedersen who hired Paul Read as its first Director. Its beginning was bumpy but today, in every way, it is SWINGING.

Photo: Phil Nimmons performing in Toronto, photo by Bruce Litteljohn.

  • Professor Phil Nimmons, Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies

Collegiality of Faculty Members

When I first came to the Faculty of Music I was pleasantly surprised that, unlike the majority of music programs in universities and conservatories in North America and other parts of the world, the piano faculty would teach a master class in rotation allowing students to receive feedback from multiple approaches. I find that initiative open-minded and healthy for all of us. I am very proud that this was possible at U of T when I know that, in fact, it is very rare elsewhere! Colleagues are very collegial at the Faculty of Music and that is a very important matter I am very happy about.

  • Enrico Elisi, Associate Professor: Keyboard, Piano