Music History | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Music History

Since colonization began in the 17th century, the mainstream of musical development has been little affected by native music. The original settlers transplanted their songs, dances and religious chants, and successive waves of immigrants reinforced old-world traditions.
Forrester, Maureen (Video)
Maureen Forrester sings Urlicht from the fourth movement of Gustav Mahler's second symphony, accompanied by an orchestra under the baton of Glenn Gould, in the CBC-TV series Chrysler Festival, broadcast on 20 February 1957\r\n(courtesy CBC-TV).
Marshall, Lois, Video
Soprano Lois Marshall sings Beim Schlafengehen, one of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs, in an episode of the CBC-TV arts series Graphic hosted by Glenn Gould, broadcast on 15 October 1962 (courtesy CBC).
John Weinzweig, composer, teacher, administrator
Canadian composer John Weinzweig (courtesy Ruth Kaplan).
Adaskin, Murray
Adaskin's compositions employ a highly personal neoclassical idiom, frequently using Canadian folk material (courtesy Nicholas Morant/Canadian Music Centre).
Freedman, Harry
Freedman first won critical acclaim for his superb orchestration (courtesy Canadian Music Centre).
Ridout, Godfrey
Ridout's compositions, ranging from chamber music and symphonic pieces to scores for radio drama and film, are professional and tuneful (courtesy Canadian Music Centre).
Somers, Harry
Somers's music is internationally respected and is performed throughout the Western world (courtesy André Leduc Assoc/Canadian Music Centre).

Music History

Music has had a home in North America for the thousands of years that Indians and Inuit have lived on this continent. Their music, however, enters recorded history only with early 17th-century European observers such as Marc LESCARBOT, Father Paul LE JEUNE and Father Gabriel Sagard, who were as fascinated by the exotic sounds and sights of native music-making as they were ill equipped to describe and analyse it. Skilled investigators such as Franz BOAS, Ernest GAGNON and Alexander T. Cringan appeared only in the late 19th century, and another 50 years passed before composers integrated elements of native music into some of their works.

Since colonization began in the 17th century, the mainstream of musical development has been little affected by native music. The original settlers transplanted their songs, dances and religious chants, and successive waves of immigrants reinforced old-world traditions. The import of printed music, of teachers and of touring star performers, followed later by recorded and broadcasted music, has shaped taste and has by its weight stifled or at least retarded original expression.

Music in Canada has paralleled the basic European style periods from the baroque to the classical, romantic and contemporary. The attempt to transplant Old World patterns in a sparsely populated country with widely separated settlements could never be quite successful, however. The system of patronage and the professional resources for grand opera, symphony orchestras and other sophisticated manifestations of music were wanting; European-trained Canadian and immigrant musicians, settling down to their careers, were cut off from new developments in composition and therefore stagnated.

In turn, adventurous young musicians sought their models from among foreign composers: until the middle of the 20th century the influence from outside has nearly always outweighed the influence from one Canadian generation to another. Imperceptibly, however, the Canadian environment began to assert its influence, first of all in the popular sphere. Song texts were adapted to local conditions and new ones invented; dance tunes were exchanged by French and Irish Canadians; amateurs and professionals outdid each other in writing patriotic music in the 1850-1920 era; and North American social dances came to be preferred to European genres.

Such institutions as the competition festival, the "local centre" examination supervised by a conservatory or examination board, the touring company, the annual conference of specific branches of the profession and the network broadcasting system - all these are typically and congenially Canadian ways of sharing artistic experiences and exchanging ideas. From the "history of music in Canada," nourished from the outside, we are moving to a "Canadian music history," growing from within through the individuality of our musicians, the quality of our institutions and the strength of our COMMUNICATIONS systems.

To the Fall of New France

Written contemporary records of music in NEW FRANCE are few. Most consist of incidental references in the diaries and travel accounts of explorers and the reports of missionaries to their superiors in Europe. They begin with Jacques CARTIER's mention of the singing of the mass at Brest (Bonne Espérance Harbour) on 14 June 1534 and of the playing of the "trumpets and other musical instruments" at HOCHELAGA [Montréal] a year later. In the following century the missionaries regularly translated religious texts into verses in native tongues, since singing proved a useful handmaid in their efforts to convert the Indians to Catholicism.

As early as the 1630s French and Indian children at Québec City were taught to sing and play European instruments. Viols, violins, guitars, transverse flutes, drums, fifes and trumpets are among the instruments named in early accounts, but it would be wrong to conclude that all were cultivated continuously in New France.

By 1661 the Jesuit chapel at Québec City had an organ, and the parish church received one in 1663; 60 years later a craftsman, Paul-Raymond Jourdain, was engaged to do extensive repair and construction work. There hardly was a need for professional musicians - at least Bishop LAVAL seems to have been concerned less with training in church music than in the decorative arts - but some priests applied their talent or European training to take charge of the musical aspect of divine service (acting as grand chantre) or to play the organ. A French-born priest, René Ménard, composed motets around 1640, and the second Canadian-born priest, Charles-Amador Martin, is credited with the plainchant music for the prose "Sacrae familiae felix spectaculum" (about 1700) in celebration of the Holy Family feast day.

Early literature contains other references to religious composition, but "composing" may have meant simply selecting music for the service or writing the words. Surviving copies of early 18th-century editions of motets, masses and cantatas by de Bournonville, Campra, Morin and other French composers make it reasonable to conclude that skilful part-singing was practised. Similar evidence for instrumental performance is provided by the 1980 discovery of a manuscript volume with nearly 400 keyboard pieces brought to Montréal (where the first organ was installed about 1700) by Jean Girard in 1724 (see RELIGIOUS MUSIC).

Though it is unlikely that formal concerts were held, some of the administrators and explorers participated in music. Louis JOLLIET, the explorer, played the organ at church; Jacques RAUDOT, the intendant, encouraged vocal and instrumental performance; and one of his successors, Claude-Thomas DUPUY, owned a library of operatic scores. Although contemporary documentation is sparse, modern research has established that everyday life in New France abounded in yet another genre of music: the hundreds of French folksongs that preserved memories of the homeland, made hard work go faster and provided rhythm for dancing, accompanied perhaps by a fiddle, a drum or at least hand-clapping and foot-stomping (see FOLK MUSIC). Thus, musical life in colonial Canada was diversified from the beginning, even though outside the church it lacked any formal organization.

Urban Musical Life, 1750-1830

Vigorous immigration to the area between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Huron and the stationing of British military bands in garrison towns were among the factors generating a more intensive and organized musical life in the second half of the 18th century. Our knowledge owes much to the introduction of the printing press to Canada (Halifax, 1751), for in due time NEWSPAPERS began to announce concerts and carry advertisements for teachers and merchants. This information is supplemented by occasional references in travel literature, more often than not commenting on the French Canadians' love of dancing and singing. The singing of the VOYAGEURS was especially admired.

The regimental bands, featuring perhaps a dozen woodwind and brass instruments, entertained at parades, participated in festive ceremonies and played minuets and country dances at suppers and balls. A "Concert Hall" existed in Québec City by 1764 and subscription concerts by 1770, given, one may presume, by band players and skilled amateurs. Programs for the Québec City and Halifax concerts of the 1790s reveal orchestral and chamber music by Handel, J.C. Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Pleyel.

Not until recent times was new music introduced to Canada more quickly. Beginning with the Padlock by Dibdin (Québec City, 1783), ballad and comic operas were heard in Halifax, Montréal and Québec City in performances by strolling actor-singers, often assembled in the US from among European artists but occasionally staged by resident amateurs, such as in Montréal's Théâtre de société, founded in 1789. One of that group's offerings was a light opera, Colas et Colinette (1790), with words and music by Louis-Joseph QUESNEL. The vocal parts of this work and those for Quesnel's Lucas et Cécile survive, but the music of John Bentley's pantomime The Enchanters (Montréal, 1786) and of his Ode marking the establishment of Upper and Lower Canada in 1791 is lost.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the only way to make a living from music was to be a jack-of-all-trades: performer on several instruments, bandleader, teacher, repairer of instruments, importer of printed music and composer of marches, dances or church music for special occasions. Such versatile musicians were Frederick Glackemeyer, Jean-Chrysostome Brauneis, Sr, and Theodore F. Molt, from Germany; Guillaume Mechtler from Belgium; Louis Dulongpré (also a painter) from France; and Bentley and Stephen Codman from England. From the US came singing teachers - itinerant like the portrait painters and companies of actors - to teach the rudiments of notation and choral singing in "singing schools" set up in a community for a few weeks or months and ending with a concert. This movement spread west from the Maritimes after about 1800 and for over 100 years contributed to the improvement of church choirs.

As a rule, until the mid-19th century, only the larger Anglican and Catholic churches could afford organs and skilled musicians; elsewhere a bass fiddle, serpent or bassoon might "give out" the hymn tune; yet other denominations frowned on elaborate music. Church music also received an impetus with the publication of liturgical and hymn collections. Le Graduel romain (1800, Catholic), the first music printed in Canada, Union Harmony (1801, Methodist) and The Colonial Harmonist (interdenominational, 1832) are the oldest, respectively, from Québec, NB and Ontario.

The Victorian Age

The inventions of the steamship and the railway, the growth of towns into cities with a prospering middle class, and the establishment of Responsible Government all helped in the 1840s to usher in the age of musical pioneering, the period when the foundations were laid for the institutions and relationships of present-day musical life. Beginning with the English singer John Braham in 1841, famous artists appeared in Canada: the violinists Ole Bull and Henri Vieuxtemps, the singer Jenny Lind and the pianist Sigismond Thalberg had all, by 1858, delighted audiences and set norms for resident artists to strive for. There were many musicians who took up the challenge through dedicated work in the cause of good music in good performance. In setting up teaching studios, in training their church choirs to appear in concerts and, together with other singers and with instrumentalists, to form "philharmonic societies" or "musical unions," in opening music stores and publishing firms, they drew on an abundance of natural talent and a thirst for "the finer things in life." The obstacles were many: the vanity of the newly prosperous merchant class was revealed in the shallowness of its taste; rivalries between musicians, dearth of performers on certain instruments and poor audience support made all musical enterprises precarious.

While a few of the first Canadian-born professional musicians were able to make decent livings at home - eg, the bandmaster Charles Sauvageau, the teacher Jean-Chrysostome Brauneis, Jr, and the church musician Jean-Baptiste Labelle - those who craved major careers in music had of necessity to seek them abroad, and indeed the exceptionally gifted found them, including Joseph B. Sharland, a music educator in Boston; Hugh A. Clarke, a professor at U of Pennsylvania; Samuel P. Warren, a virtuoso organist living in New York; Calixa LAVALLÉE, composer of Canada's national anthem ("O Canada"), who found success as a pianist and composer in Boston; Solomon Mazurette, who lived as a pianist in Detroit; and, perhaps the most outstanding of all, Emma Lajeunesse, the great soprano who, under the name ALBANI, became Canada's first world-famous musician. Many skilled musicians from Europe assumed Canadian roles as teachers, organists and leaders of musical societies, among them James P. CLARKE in Toronto, Antoine DESSANE in Québec City, Gustave Smith in Ottawa, Frederick Herbert Torrington in Montréal and later Toronto, and Frantz JEHIN-PRUME, primarily a violinist, in Montréal.

Among the earliest musical societies were the New Union Singing Society (1809) of Halifax; the Québec Harmonic Society (1820); the singers and band of the Children of Peace (1814) at Sharon, Upper Canada, proof of how strong leadership could make music flourish in a small village community; the York [Toronto] Band (1824); and the Philharmonic Society of Saint John, NB (1824). When the West was opened to colonization, the speed of musical development was telescoped, and societies were formed in the earliest years of many settlements. Victoria had a Philharmonic Society in 1859; Calgary and Winnipeg had bands in the 1870s, and concerts were given in Regina and Saskatoon in the 1880s. After Confederation every city and town had a number of societies, usually built around the core of a choir, and assisting orchestras were formed for special concerts with the help of band players, music teachers and amateurs. The largest and most enduring were the Toronto (1872-94) and Montréal (1875-99) Philharmonic societies, under the respective principal leadership of Torrington and Guillaume COUTURE, and the Septuor Haydn (1871-1903), a Québec City instrumental group led by Arthur Lavigne.

Programs ranged from the haphazard assortment of band overtures, piano solos, national songs and choral pieces (the "grand concert of vocal and instrumental music") to oratorio performances and concert performances of operas (eg, Messiah, The Creation, The Flying Dutchman, and Beethoven's Symphony No 9 ). For OPERA, Canadians depended mainly on visiting troupes, although, sporadically, amateur performances were staged locally, and the Holman English Opera Troupe resided in Toronto and London, Ont, for some years. Instead of the ballad operas of the 18th century, the repertoire now embraced Italian and French grand opera. From rare performances of truncated versions accompanied by a handful of instrumentalists about the midcentury, opera became a frequent entertainment by professional companies, including those from New York City, by the end of the Victorian era. "Opera houses" opened in every community from Vancouver to Yarmouth, NS, but in general, except for Toronto's MASSEY HALL (1894), concert halls were inadequate.

On the popular level, orally transmitted folk songs yielded increasingly to fashionable ballads and dances (waltzes, quadrilles, galops, polkas) propagated by imported printed music. However, there was a countercurrent in Québec, where songs like "À la claire fontaine" and "Vive la Canadienne" were quasi-national hymns, and where new patriotic songs such as "Un Canadien errant" (words 1842) and "Le Drapeau de carillon" (1858) gained wide popularity. Ernest GAGNON's collection Chansons populaires du Canada (1865-67) helped some 100 songs to a new life by bringing them to the attention of city folk and sophisticated musicians. Gagnon himself arranged folk tunes for choir, and Ontario composer Susie F. Harrison utilized such material in her Trois Ésquisses canadiennes (1859) and her opera Pipandor, as did several foreign composers - eg, Sir Alexander Mackenzie in his Canadian Rhapsody (about 1905) for orchestra. James P. Clarke successfully captured a Canadian flavour in his group of songs Lays of the Maple Leaf (1853), but the bulk of composers accepted without question the stylistic trends current during their student years in Paris or Leipzig in both the concert and the popular genres.

Most of the surviving Canadian compositions of the Victorian era were intended for the immediate needs of churches, bands, dance halls, patriotic rallies and the ever-growing number of parlour pianists and singers. Rarely did such music rise above the level of competence and prettiness, but it matched the average music in these genres produced in other countries. Calixa Lavallée's Ouverture - Patrie (1874), Couture's Rêverie (1875), W.O Forsyth's Suite (1888) and Clarence Lucas's 3 Shakespeare overtures (about 1899) are among the rare orchestral works. Given the local resources, there was a greater incentive to write cantatas and light operas. Landmarks were Charles W. Sabatier's Cantata in Honour of the Prince of Wales (1860), J.B. Labelle's Cantate: La Confédération (about 1867), Lavallée's US-produced light operas The Widow (1881) and TIQ (The Indian Question /Settled at Last, publ 1883), Oscar F. Telgmann's "Canadian military opera" Leo the Royal Cadet (1889), which had over 150 performances, J.J. Perrault's Messe de Noël (1859-65) and Charles A.E. HARRISS's dramatic legend Torquil (published 1896).

Progress in performance and composition was accompanied by the development of instrument building, music publishing and MUSIC EDUCATION. The making of pianos and pipe and reed organs began in the second decade of the 19th century in small workshops by German and US craftsmen and became a major industry by the end of the century, while violin making remained a cottage industry (see MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS). Important names were Samuel R. Warren and CASAVANT FRÈRES LTÉE in pipe-organ building, T.A. Heintzman in piano manufacturing (see HEINTZMAN AND CO LTD), and the Lyonnais family in violin building. R.S. Williams & Sons and Whaley and Royce & Co Ltd were among the largest instrument dealer-manufacturers.

Following the publication of church-music volumes (see HYMNS), music was printed in newspapers (1831) and periodicals, and after 1839 it appeared on its own, as sheet music. Dance music, marches and parlour pieces for the piano and songs made up the bulk of publications, but cantatas and light operas also found their way into print. Canadian works and foreign compositions were about equal in number. A. and S. Nordheimer, Arthur Lavigne, A.J. Boucher and Whaley, Royce & Co Ltd were among the most active companies. There were no public or university music libraries, but musical societies built collections of musical literature for their own members.

Music was introduced as an activity in many public schools after the middle of the 19th century; Alexander T. Cringan was one of its principal pioneers, and the Petit Séminaire de Québec had a school orchestra as early as 1833. King's College (later University of Toronto) granted James P. Clarke a Bachelor of Music degree in 1846, and George W. Strathy received a Doctor of Music from the U of Trinity College (Toronto) in 1858, but only late in the century did several universities establish degree examinations, leaving the teaching to conservatories. The conservatories, of which the Toronto Conservatory (1886) soon became the leading institution, provided individual lessons (see ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC).

Flourishing and Transition, 1900-40

Grandeur - an expression of wealth and power - was a universal characteristic of the turn of the century, and it showed itself in musical life as well. Compositions such as Caïn (1905) by Alexis CONTANT and Jean le Précurseur (publ 1914) by his fellow Montréaler Guillaume Couture were oratorios with full orchestra on a scale never before attempted in Canada. Joseph Vézina, bandmaster in Québec City, produced 3 comic operas. In 1903 C.A.E. Harriss organized the Cycle of Musical Festivals of the Dominion of Canada, which involved over 4000 singers and instrumentalists in 15 communities from Halifax to Victoria. Choirs of hundreds of singers coexisted in the large cities, and Toronto came to be called the "choral capital of North America" largely because of its TORONTO MENDELSSOHN CHOIR, founded by A.S. VOGT.

Montréal boasted an ambitious Montréal (later National) Opera Company (1910-14), and visiting companies presented such giant works as Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal, the Ring cycle and Otello, though these were exceptional. For orchestral fare even the large cities depended on visiting ensembles, usually from the northern US, that would accompany Canadian oratorio choirs and present programs of their own. However, Québec City, Montréal, Toronto, Halifax and Calgary established semiprofessional orchestras (see ORCHESTRAL MUSIC).

Piano companies flourished as never before (see PIANO MANUFACTURING) and Émile Berliner, developer of the disc recording process for commercial music reproduction, established his gramophone business in Montréal. Conservatories mushroomed and examination boards were set up, the Académie de musique de Québec (1868), the Associated Board (British, operating in Canada from 1895 to 1953), the Dominion College of Montréal and the Toronto Conservatory, among others. After years of insular development, Canadians were able to find out about musical life in each other's cities from such periodicals as Le Passe-Temps (1895-1935, 1945-49), Canadian Music Trades Journal (1900-33) and Musical Canada (1906-33).

WWI produced a spate of patriotic songs, but it decimated orchestras, choirs and many other enterprises. After the war the era of active music making waned under the impact of the new technologies of recorded and radio-transmitted sound (see MUSIC BROADCASTING). Imports again dominated the market, filling homes with US popular and European concert music, providing only a modest outlet for Canadian performers and composers. In combination with the Great Depression, this shift caused a decline in the instrument industry and an employment crisis for musicians. There were significant new developments, however. Faculties or schools of music were established at the universities of Toronto (1918), McGill (1920) and Laval (1922). Orchestras, few of which had survived the war, were re-established, or new ones were founded, notably in Toronto (1922), Montréal (1930 and 1934) and Vancouver (1930; see TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA; ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTRÉAL; VANCOUVER SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA), and broadcast studios employed musicians for musical and dramatic programs.

Orchestras, choirs and solo performers could now be heard on networks across the country and in communities where concert facilities did not exist. Representative ensembles, in addition to the orchestras, were the Elgar Choir of BC, based in Vancouver, the Bach-Elgar Choir of Hamilton, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Arion Male Voice Choir of Victoria, the Schubert and Canadian Choirs of Brantford, the Winnipeg Male Voice Choir, the Disciples de Massenet of Montréal, the Dubois and HART HOUSE STRING QUARTETS of Montréal and Toronto, respectively, and the Société canadienne d'opérette of Montréal and its successor, Variétés lyriques. Recitals were fostered, in particular by the women's musical clubs.

Famous popular groups were The DUMBELLS, a vaudeville troupe born in the trenches of WWI; Guy LOMBARDO and his Royal Canadians, a dance band that moved to the US; and the Bytown Troubadours, a male quartet. The western provinces found a congenial outlet for musical energies in the competition festivals. These were begun in Edmonton in 1908 and in the 1990s still bring thousands of children and music lovers together to match skills and take advice from visiting adjudicators (see MUSIC AWARDS AND COMPETITIONS).

The period between the wars also produced the first musician of national stature, Sir Ernest MACMILLAN, the only Canadian musician to have been knighted. Other musicians who achieved national or international recognition included, in chronological order, the singers Marie Toulinguet, Rodolphe PLAMONDON, Béatrice LA PALME, Edward JOHNSON, Louise Edvina, Florence Easton, Pauline DONALDA, Eva Gauthier, Sarah FISCHER, Frances James and Raoul JOBIN; the organist Lynnwood Farnam; the pianists Emiliano Rénaud, Mona Bates, Léo-Pol MORIN, Ernest Seitz, Ellen Ballon and Muriel Kerr; the violinists Kathleen PARLOW and Frederick Grinke; the orchestra conductors Luigi von Kunits, Wilfrid PELLETIER, Reginald Stewart, Geoffrey WADDINGTON and Jean-Marie BEAUDET; the choirleaders Herbert A. Fricker, Bruce Carey and Charles Goulet; the bandmasters John Slatter, Charles O'Neill and J.J. Gagnier; and the carillonneur Percival PRICE.

The field recording, archival deposit and publication of folk and aboriginal music by Marius BARBEAU, W. Roy Mackenzie, Helen CREIGHTON and others resulted in the discovery and preservation of an unsuspected wealth of traditional music and local compositions. The series of folk arts and handicrafts festivals organized by J.M. Gibbon for the CPR from 1927 to 1934 (especially in Québec City and Banff) promoted public awareness of folk music and stimulated arrangements and new compositions by W.H. Anderson, Claude CHAMPAGNE, Hector Gratton, Alfred LaLiberté, MacMillan, Oscar O'Brien, Léo Roy, Alfred Whitehead, Healey WILLAN and others. A foundation of regional folk idioms was widely believed to be the precondition for a distinctive Canadian music. However, although Champagne's Suite canadienne and MacMillan's Two Sketches for Strings have become Canadian classics, the majority of compositions were international in orientation.

Anglo-Canadian composers and teachers of the craft, such as Douglas Clarke, MacMillan, Leo Smith, Whitehead and Willan, were steeped in turn-of-the-century aesthetics and usually in British church traditions. On the whole, French Canadians such as Champagne, LaKiberté, Rodolphe MATHIEU and Morin represented more modern influences, ranging from Scriabin to Debussy. Mathieu and Colin McPhee, who later investigated the music of Bali, were among the few exploring contemporary techniques. The majority of compositions were songs, choral settings and short piano pieces. Symphonies, string quartets and cantatas were usually written as degree exercises, but at least one composer, Willan, wrote in nearly all forms, from ballad and radio operas to symphonies, from organ pieces to choral music.

The teaching content at universities and conservatories and the concert repertoire were conservative, but to audiences in Canada the bulk of Bach, Mozart, Brahms and Debussy was still music to become familiar with. Without doubt, however, the dearth of pioneers for the radical new music of the day did delay the development of composers and audiences considerably.

Expansion Since WWII, 1940-84

A swift expansion, almost an "explosion," of musical activity occurred in the 1940s. Subsequent progress has been nothing short of spectacular, retarded only slightly by the economic austerity of the 1970s and 1980s. It manifested itself in the emergence of world-rank performers and ensembles, of a large number of professional composers, and in the import, and assimilation by audiences, of a diversifed literature of new and old music from many parts of the world, offered in abundance in splendid new concert halls and arts centres, at festivals and on recordings and broadcasts (see RECORDING INDUSTRY).

This growth has been concomitant with a new pride in Canadian achievement and a conscious will to establish and maintain a cultural identity. It has been nurtured by enriched school music programs, the development of facilities for advanced education and scholarly research, and by new communications technologies. It has been built with the help of nationwide organizations setting standards, co-ordinating resources, promoting talent, protecting legal interests and lobbying governments. Agitation throughout the arts community has been largely responsible for new patterns of financial support for the arts from governmental agencies - foremost the CANADA COUNCIL - and, to a lesser degree, from private sources. Direct support is given through subsidies of various kinds (see ARTS, HERITAGE AND CULTURAL INDUSTRIES FUNDING), and indirect support through quotas set on the Canadian content of concert series and broadcasts.

Before WWII there had been a few national music organizations (all named here by their latest name only), the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada (CAPAC, 1925), the Canadian Band Directors' Association (1931) and the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Associations (1935). Later ones include SOCAN (Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers of Canada), a merger in 1990 of CAPAC and the Performing Rights Organization of Canada (ProCAN, 1940-90), the Canadian Band Directors Association, the CANADIAN LEAGUE OF COMPOSERS (1951), the CANADIAN MUSIC CENTRE (1959), the Canadian Music Educators' Association (1959), the Canadian University Music Society (1965), the Association of Canadian Orchestras (1972), and others for folk music, music libraries, music publishers, record producers and other special concerns.

The improvement of music education after WWII began with the establishment of the CONSERVATOIRE DE MUSIQUE DU QUÉBEC by the province of Québec in 1942, first in Montréal and later in 7 centres, and the creation of courses at the U of T for professional performers and school music educators (1946). The number of university music departments has grown from a handful in the 1930s to over 30. New research facilities include electronic music studios, folk and native music archives at the CANADIAN MUSEUM OF CIVILIZATION, U Laval and elsewhere, and the national collection of musical Canadiana at the NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CANADA (1970). The National Youth Orchestra (1960) provides experience for a young elite of instrumentalists, while JEUNESSES MUSICALES DU CANADA (1949), CAMMAC (Canadian Amateur Musicians/Musiciens amateurs du Canada) (1953) and numerous summer music camps appeal to the wide range of music lovers.

Music information and discussion has been fostered by such periodicals as The Canadian Music Journal (1956-62), Opera Canada (established 1960) and The Canada Music Book (1970-76). The ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MUSIC IN CANADA (1981, French ed 1983) bears witness to the growing interest in the history and current state of music in Canada. The intensity and diversity of musical performance has assumed staggering proportions, whether one thinks of the 100 professional or community orchestras, the opera companies of Toronto (CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY), Montréal (Opéra du Québec, followed by Opéra de Montréal), Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary (Southern Alberta Opera Association), Winnipeg (Manitoba Opera Association) and elsewhere, the chansonnier and boîte à chansons phenomenon of the 1960s, the summer FESTIVALS, the rock bands or the broadcast fare (see POPULAR MUSIC). Only a few highlights may be listed.

The CBC had its golden age of music in the 1950s with its own symphony orchestra and opera company and its L'Heure du concert (French TV), but has since turned from a prime producer of music programs into a channel for programs originating in concert halls. Festivals have included those in Montréal (1936-65), STRATFORD, Ont (established 1953), Vancouver (1955-68), Ottawa (NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE, 1971-83), Festival international de Lanaudière (established 1978), Festival international de jazz de Montréal (established 1980), as well as giant celebrations during EXPO 67 in Montréal and the 150th anniversary of the City of Toronto in 1984. International acclaim has been won by such groups as the ORFORD STRING QUARTET (1965), the FESTIVAL SINGERS OF CANADA (1954-79), the CANADIAN BRASS QUINTET (1970), the GUESS WHO rock band (1965-75) and others (see CHAMBER MUSIC). The main cities have ensembles for the performance of medieval and renaissance music on authentic instruments and also societies for the most recent music, notably the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec of Montréal (1966).

Individual performers of world repute include the singers Maureen FORRESTER, Lois MARSHALL, Louis QUILICO, Léopold SIMONEAU, Teresa STRATAS, Jon VICKERS, Paul FREY, Ben HEPPNER, and Edith Wiens (see SINGING); the pianists Glenn GOULD, Anton KUERTI, André Laplante and Ronald Turini, Louis LORTIE and Janina Fialkowska; the violinists Ida HAENDEL and Steven STARYK; the cellists Lorne Munroe and Zara Nelsova; the harpsichordist Kenneth GILBERT; and the JAZZ musicians Maynard FERGUSON (trumpet) and Oscar PETERSON (piano). Mireille Lagacé and Hugh McLean are among the best organists; Alberto Guerrero, Lyell Gustin, Yvonne Hubert and Lubka Kolessa have been renowned piano teachers; and the list could be continued for many other disciplines.

Canadian conductors of the period include John AVISON, Mario BERNARDI, Alexander BROTT and Boris BROTT, Victor FELDBRILL and Pierre HÉTU as well as many outstanding immigrants. Rika Maniates is one of several fine musicologists (see MUSICOLOGY); Conrad Laforte is a distinguished folk song scholar, as was Edith FOWKE (1913-96); Nicholas Goldschmidt (festivals), Gilles Lefebvre (Jeunesses musicales) and Arnold WALTER (education) have been organizers on the grand scale. Popular and folk singer-songwriters have included Paul ANKA, Edith Butler, Félix LECLERC, Monique LEYRAC, Gordon LIGHTFOOT, Alan Mills, Joni MITCHELL, Anne MURRAY, Gilles VIGNEAULT, Céline Dion and Bryan Adams.

The breakthrough in composition that occurred about the middle of the century was 3-pronged: it established composition as a primary musical occupation; it introduced the teaching of contemporary techniques to the classroom, and it ended Canadian isolation from the avant-garde of Western music. Internationalism and diversity ruled as composers caught up with 12-tone technique, neoclassicism, electronic sound and other developments (see ELECTROACOUSTIC MUSIC). Many young Canadians polished their art in Paris, Rome or Darmstadt; some 3 dozen studied with the celebrated teacher Nadia Boulanger. Barbara PENTLAND, John WEINZWEIG and Jean PAPINEAU-COUTURE became leaders of the "radical" wing, Weinzweig and Papineau-Couture also the first 2 presidents of the Canadian League of Composers, and teachers of great influence.

Considering the variety of genres, techniques and styles embodied in the works of these and many other Canadian composers, can one detect distinct regional or national traits? Some critics have drawn parallels between lonely scenery and stark climate and the austere vocabulary of certain composers; others deny such parallels. Folk idioms, historical subject matter (as in Somers's opera Louis Riel) and the blending of pioneer-age music with modern techniques (as in certain Beckwith works) also provide means towards distinctiveness. A close awareness of our "soundscapes" has led Schafer to some original experiments.

To shake off international influences would be pointless and impossible; gradually Canadian music will be shaped by composers who, like other Canadians, are products of Canadian society and react to their environment in ways that are subtly different from those of others. Among these composers there will be, if there are not already, a few of such talent and individuality that their music will determine what is called Canadian.

Further Reading

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