William Aide | The Canadian Encyclopedia


William Aide

William (John) Aide. Pianist, teacher, writer, b Timmins, Ont, 27 Mar 1938; LRCT 1959, Artist Diploma (Toronto) 1959, B SC music (Juilliard) 1962.

William (John) Aide. Pianist, teacher, writer, b Timmins, Ont, 27 Mar 1938; LRCT 1959, Artist Diploma (Toronto) 1959, B SC music (Juilliard) 1962. He studied piano with Alberto Guerrero in Toronto and Beveridge Webster in New York, making his concerto debut in 1958 with the Royal Conservatory of Music Orchestra in Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto. In 1960 and 1961 he won first prize in the National Music Competition (later Canadian Music Competitions), and in 1962 he won first prize in the CBC Talent Festival and the Canada Council Award for Young Performing Artists. He was active 1965-74 as a performer in Winnipeg, both in chamber music (eg, Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire in 1969 at the University of Manitoba) and in concerto performances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra. He appeared as soloist with the Toronto Symphony and National Arts Centre Orchestra and has been heard on the CBC and the BBC.

A specialist in Canadian music, Aide has premiered works of John Beckwith, Walter Buczynski, Samuel Dolin, S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté, Srul Irving Glick, Peter Paul Koprowski, and Arthur Polson. He toured the USSR with the mezzo-soprano Phyllis Mailing in 1971 and was the recital partner of Otto Armin, Joanne Dorenfeld, Rivka Golani, Ofra Harnoy, Lois Marshall, Catherine Robbin, Roxolana Roslak, Elizabeth Söderström, and others. Glenn Gould in a 1975 letter of reference praised the "structural clarity and integrity which has long been a hallmark of his playing ..."

After teaching 1963-4 at Mount Allison University and 1964-5 at Acadia University he joined the School of Music, University of Manitoba. In 1974 he began teaching at the University of Western Ontario and in 1978 he joined the faculty at the University of Toronto. In 2000 Aide became the inaugural holder of the University of Toronto's R.E. Edwards Chair in piano performance, remaining in that position in 2013. His pupils included David Buechner, Laurie Duncan, Douglas Finch, Renee Rosnes, and playwright Tomson Highway. He adjudicated the Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition in 1992, and was artist-in-residence at the Aix-en-Provence conservatory, France, in 1993 and 1995.

Aide published his autobiography, Starting from Porcupine, in 1996. He authored four books of poems, including Sea Voyage with Pigs, based on the Chopin piano preludes, and Letters to a Musical Friend, six poems from which were set for baritone and piano by composer Walter Buczynski.

In addition to recordings of Chopin, Brahms, Haydn and Beethoven, William Aide can be heard on CD performing music by Talivaldis Kenins, Harry Somers, John Beckwith, Steven Gellman, Violet Archer, Jean Coulthard and Phil Nimmons, with such musicians as Lawrence Cherney and Robert Aitken. He also recorded the Suzuki piano method repertoire. He wrote articles and reviews on music, and was a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. William Aide was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2012.


Middle C (Fredericton 1971);

"Fact and Freudian fable: ... on Gould and Guerrero," Idler, summer 1993

"The St. Lawrence String Quartet," Noteworthy, summer 1995

Starting from Porcupine (Ottawa 1996)

Sea Voyage With Pigs (Ottawa 2002)

Letters to a Musical Friend (Ottawa 2007)

Pieces in My Hands (Ottawa 2010)