U of T on LP

Submitted by masonj on
James Mason

The U of T community has been active in the performing arts since its inception. The LP collection held by the Music Library is a testament to that. Let’s take a look (and listen) to some gems that demonstrate the rich history of our faculty and university. 

Canadiana suite 

Featuring: Phil Nimmons, Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies 

Phil Nimmons joined the University of Toronto in 1973 as an instructor in jazz techniques and is now Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies.  Phil has a long and eventful career starting as a clarinetist in Vancouver dance bands and on the CBC in the 1940’s to his most current work with David Braid.  

Phil is a long-time friend of Oscar Peterson, first performing the Canadiana Suite together in 1970. This recording, arranged by Phil for this ensemble, was released in 1973. 

Phil Nimmons’ archive is held by the Music Library.  

Critic's corner;  Songs of contemplation 

Featuring: Orford String Quartet, “quartet-in-residence" at the Faculty of Music 

The Orford String Quartet, a Distinguished Canadian string quartet founded in June 1965 and active until July 1991. The Orford String Quartet has a long history with the University of Toronto. Featured in many Faculty Concerts, the members held teaching appointments beginning in 1972. The quartet has been referred to as the “quartet-in-residence" for the faculty of music. The members of the quartet, on this recording, are Andrew Dawes and Kenneth Perkins, violin; Terence Helmer, viola; and Denis Brott, cello. 

Maureen Forester is a celebrated Canadian contralto who performed with orchestras all over the world. Her first operatic role was in Gluck’s Orpheus in Toronto (1961). Maureen was a strong advocate for Canadian composers. Maureen is featured in many of our Faculty Recordings. 

Alexander Brott was the assistant conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (63-65). An important figure in Canadian music, a composer, conductor, and a violinist. 

Sextet Six marimbas 

Featuring: Professor Emeritus Russell Hartenberger

Russell is former chair of percussion at music@UofT and former Dean of the Faculty of Music. He has been a member of both the percussion group, Nexus, and Steve Reich and Musicians since 1971. Nexus also has a strong history with the faculty performing often as part of the concert series and is featured often in the Faculty Events repository. 

Bach sonatas 1, 2, & 3 for harpsichord & flute 

Featuring: Robert Aitken, Flute instruction;  Greta Kraus, harpsichord, accompanying, and Baroque performance practice instruction 

Robert, at age 19, started his career as the principal flutist for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.  He soon began to focus on chamber music.  Robert often worked with Greta Kraus and the Lyric Arts Trio.  Robert is featured on our Faculty Events regularly, and taught at the University of Toronto from 1960 to 1975.  

Greta Kraus had an international career as a harpsichord player. In 1937 she appeared in London with the Boyd Neel Orchestra and performed over the BBC, and from 1942 until 1956 she played the continuo for the Messiah, St Matthew Passion, St John Passion and Mass in B Minor performances under Sir Ernest MacMillan at Toronto's Massey Hall. Greta taught harpsichord, accompanying, and Baroque performance practice at the RCMT 1943-69 and at the University of Toronto 1963-76 and part time after 1976. 

The curse 

Featuring: Mike Murley, Jazz

Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Jazz Program, Mike Murley has been a fixture in the Toronto and Canadian Jazz Scene for decades. Murley moved to Toronto in 1981 and since 1990 has fourteen Juno Award-winning recordings to his name, seven as a leader or co-leader, seven as a sideman. 

Healey Willan a centennial celebration 

Featuring: Healey Willan, appointed to the University of Toronto Faculty of Music in 1937 

In 1913 Willan received an invitation from A.S. Vogt, principal of the Toronto Conservatory of Music (TCM), offering him the position of head of the theory department. In 1914 he was appointed a lecturer and examiner for the University of Toronto. From 1919 to 1925 he served as music director of the university's Hart House Theatre. In 1920 he became vice-principal of the TCM, a post he held until 1936. Willan was appointed to the University of Toronto Faculty of Music in 1937. Healey composed more than 800 works including operas,  symphonies, chamber music, a concerto, and pieces for band, orchestra, organ, and piano. He is best known for his church music. 

Electronic Essays 

Featuring: Pauline Oliveros,  composed Jar Piece while working at the University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio ; John Rea, a graduate of the faculty of Music 

Pauline Oliveros, a pioneer of electronic music, composed Jar Piece during the summer of 1966 while working at the University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio and attending lectures by Hugh LeCaine, the well-known Canadian researcher/inventor in the field of electro-acoustics. 

John Rea, a graduate of the faculty of Music, made extensive use of Hugh LeCaine’s Variable Speed tape recorder in his composition S.P.I 51. 

Istvan Anhalt, founder and director of the Electronic Music Studio at McGill also made extensive use of the developments of Hugh LeCaine. On Electronic Composition no.3 Hugh LeCaines Special purpose Tape Recorder and Spectrogram Apparatus can be heard. On Composition no. 4 Anhalt uses the Victor Electronic Music Synthesizer from the National Research Council of Canada, which was designed by Hugh LeCaine.  

The University of Toronto Chorus 

The U of T Chorus was active from the 1960’s through the 1970’s. 

Featuring: Talivaldis Kenins, Named professor emeritus in 1984 

The U of T Chorus was active int 1960’s through the 1970’s, along with Hart House Theatre, Hart House Glee Club, The University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, University of Toronto Chorus, Ontario College of Education, Victoria College Music Club, Trinity College Dramatic Society, and others, provided artistic outlets for the University community. Around the same time, the Faculty was starting many of its own ensembles, including choruses, however none have recordings as early as this.  

This recording features two pieces by the composer Talivaldis Kenins who taught for 32 years at the faculty starting in 1952 and named professor emeritus in 1984. 

Boyd Neel conducts Handel Elgar Holst   


Featuring: Boyd Neel, dean of the Royal Conservatory, and director of the Hart House Orchestra, at the University of Toronto 

Starting his career as a surgeon in London, he started his orchestra as “more or less a kind of hobby.”  The Boyd Neel Orchestra became a sensation and began touring the world. His orchestra has been credited with pioneering the “Baroque revival” of the mid 1900’s. It was during a tour of Canada in 1952 that Boyd Neel was asked to be the Dean of the Royal Conservatory, which he accepted. It was then he formed the Hart House Orchestra, at the University of Toronto, featured in this recording.