Stanley Saunders | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Stanley Saunders

Stanley Saunders. Administrator, educator, conductor, clarinetist, b Newport, Gwent (then Monmouthshire), Wales, 3 May 1927; DIP MUS (Wales) 1951, M MUS (Oregon) 1967, DMA (Oregon) 1970.

Saunders, Stanley

Stanley Saunders. Administrator, educator, conductor, clarinetist, b Newport, Gwent (then Monmouthshire), Wales, 3 May 1927; DIP MUS (Wales) 1951, M MUS (Oregon) 1967, DMA (Oregon) 1970. Stanley Saunders toured Europe 1948-51 as a clarinet soloist, was a founding member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, was the soloist and associate conductor of the Franco-Gallois Orchestra 1960, and performed on BBC TV, British Independent TV, and, later, on the CBC and on US networks. He was a music specialist 1951-8 for the Glamorgan Education Authority in Wales prior to emigrating to Canada in 1958. From 1958 to 1974 he was an associate professor at Mount Allison University, establishing the summer instrumental music camps and conducting the University Symphonic Band and University Choral Society. Saunders was the founding conductor and musical director of Canada's first provincial youth orchestra 1965-74, the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, which won the first award, senior national open final for symphony orchestras at the Dominion Music Festival in 1967. Saunders taught at the international summer schools at the University of Oregon for four consecutive years 1967-70. From 1964 to 1974, he presented the weekly national school music broadcasts for the CBC.

Saunders was music director, professor and chair of the Music Department at the University of Guelph 1974-93, where he founded and conducted the University of Guelph Civic Orchestra, which he conducted 1974-86. He conducted the Brantford Symphony Orchestra 1974-2001.

He was president of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada 1977-9 and 1986-8, and served on the boards of the Canadian Association of Youth Orchestras, the Canadian Conference of the Arts, Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras, and other Canadian and US music organizations.

Saunders twice won the first award of the instrumental solo at the Eisteddfodau (Wales), as well as the University of Wales' Chamber Music Prize. He was also guest professor of music and conductor for the University of Wales gala centennial celebrations in 1983-84. Saunders directed and coordinated the Biennial International Symposia for Conductors, in Mexico in 1990 and in Michigan in 1988 and 1992.

Saunders was the recipient of two British government scholarships, two Canada Council fellowships, and two US foreign student awards. Other honours include the 'citizen of the year award of distinction' from Guelph and Brantford, Ont; outstanding service awards from the City of Brantford, and the County of Brant, Ont (both 2001); and the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal.

Saunders conducted premieres of compositions by Violet Archer, Robert Farnon, Wolfgang Bottenberg, Murray Geddes, Marjan Mozetich, Ronald Royer, Charles Wilson; Alun Hoddinott, Richard Elfyn Jones (UK); and Dick Hyman, Steve Margoshes, Gordon Ring, William Wallace, Robert Washburn, and Joan Wildman (US). An American Wind Symphony: The Gaels, by Robert Farnon, is dedicated to Stanley Saunders.

Since 2002, Saunders has been guest conducting, adjudicating at international festivals, and presenting clinics and master classes throughout North America and Europe.


'A study to adapt selected instrumental and vocal compositions of the renaissance as a practical guide for secondary school use,' DMA thesis, Oregon 1970

'A concept of music education for the Canadian community: the needs and aspirations of the Maritime provinces,' CME, vol 15, Winter 1974

'The role of the music director: on and off the podium,' OCan, vol 4, Jul 1977

- and Bird, Evelyn. 'The use of psychophysiological response and mental rehearsal in conductors' (Guelph 1984)

'Robert Farnon: Genius and Humility. A Canadian Perspective,' Journal into Melody, Issue 165, Sept 2005