Monica Gaylord | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Monica Gaylord

Monica Gaylord, pianist, harpsichordist (born 6 February 1948 in New York).

Pianist, harpsichordist, b New York, of Jamaican parents, 6 Feb 1948; B MUS (Eastman School of Music, Rochester) 1968, M MUS (Eastman School of Music) 1969. A pupil of Jane Carlson 1959-63 at the Juilliard School, she made her Town Hall (New York) debut in 1964 and continued her studies 1964-70 at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, with Cécile Genhart. In 1970 she moved to Canada, where she worked as an orchestral pianist 1972-3 for the Toronto Symphony and later for the National Arts Centre Orchestra and appeared with New Music Concerts in Toronto and on its 1977 European tour. As soloist Gaylord played the Schumann Concerto with the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Toronto Symphony in 1973, Mozart's Concerto Rondo No. 1 K382 and Salieri's Concerto in C with the Hamilton Philharmonic in 1986, and other works (Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Beethoven's Concerto No. 4, etc) with the Calgary Philharmonic, the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and other orchestras. Gaylord gave solo recitals for the Toronto International Festival at Roy Thomson Hall in 1984 and for the Guelph Spring Festival in 1985. She performed a series of 12 solo concerts for the Prologue to the Performing Arts in northern Ontario in 1988. Gaylord has toured Canada extensively and in the summer of 1985 she toured Greece and performed in the Holland Festival in Amsterdam.

She has appeared on CBC TV (e.g., 'Music to See' 1974 and a live broadcast with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1984) and CBC and CJRT radio, and has given many recitals for adult audiences and school children. Some of her programs have been devoted to music by black composers (Dett, Ellington, Joplin, and others) or Canadian women composers (Archer, Coulthard, Eckhardt-Gramatté, Pentland, Saint-Marcoux, and Southam). In 1977 she premiered William McCauley's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the North York Symphony Orchestra and, in a CBC broadcast, John Weinzweig's song cycle Private Collection with Mary Lou Fallis. Gaylord also has accompanied Melvin Berman, Lawrence Cherney, Rivka Golani, Walter Prystawski, David Zafer, and others. Besides a 'direct-to-disc' LP, Monica Gaylord Plays Ben McPeek (1975, Boot BMC-3007), and a recording of David Keane's Lyra for piano solo (1979, Music Gallery Editions MGE-29), she has recorded with Berman, Fallis (Weinzweig Private Collection, 1982, Centrediscs CMC-0582/RCI 566), James MacDonald (Floyd Blues, 1978, Music Gallery Editions MGE-21), Maurice Solway (1988, Septima unnumbered cassette), Christopher Weait, and (as harpsichordist) the Toronto Baroque Trio. She also recorded the album Black Piano - A Treasury of Works for Solo Piano by Black Composers (Music and Arts, 1992) reissued in 1998 as Piano Music by William Grant Still and Other Black Composers; it contains works by Oscar Peterson and Nathaniel Dett.

Gaylord has taught privately in Toronto and in 1986 she joined the teaching staff of the Royal Conservatory of Music, where she remained in 2005. She co-authored that institution's piano workbooks for the New Piano Series and the Celebration Series. She adjudicated 1987-8 for the Ontario Arts Council and in 1988 joined the music committee of the Toronto Arts Council.