CAPAC | The Canadian Encyclopedia



CAPAC (Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada Limited/Association des compositeurs, auteurs et éditeurs du Canada Ltée). An organization established in 1925 as the Canadian Performing Rights Society (CPRS).

CAPAC (Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada Limited/Association des compositeurs, auteurs et éditeurs du Canada Ltée). An organization established in 1925 as the Canadian Performing Rights Society (CPRS). A subsidiary of Great Britain's Performing Rights Society (PRS), CPRS was created to administer the royalties of composers and/or lyric writers and music publishers whose works were performed in Canada. In 1930 the US performing rights society ASCAP became part owner of CPRS. In 1945 by Supplementary Letters Patent CPRS became CAPAC. In 1963 PRS and ASCAP transferred their legal ownership of shares in CAPAC to the Canada Permanent Trust Co (in 1991 the Montreal Trust Co) in trust for the members of CAPAC. CAPAC merged with PRO Canada in 1990 to form the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

In 1921 the Canadian Copyright Act established performing rights of musical works as a constituent part of copyright. Thus the owner of the copyright of a musical work, as the owner of the performing right, must authorize any use of that work. A composer/author or publisher member of CAPAC assigned the legal ownership of his performing right to CAPAC (see also Copyright). CAPAC collected fees from those who made public or broadcast use of music (over radio and TV stations, in concert halls, theatres, and cinemas, etc) and distributed them (less administration costs) to those whose music was performed.

CAPAC had its head office in Toronto and branch offices in Montreal (established in 1950) and Vancouver (established in 1974). At the time of the merger in 1990, CAPAC administeredthe performing rights of works performed in Canada on behalf of more than 21,000 Canadian members and hundreds of thousands of members of 36 affiliated foreign societies. In return, the foreign societies administered the rights of Canadian works performed in their countries. Wholly controlled by its Canadian members, CAPAC had a board of 16 directors elected annually by the membership. The directors - eight composers and authors and eight publishers - were responsible for the appointment of CAPAC management and for the formulation and amendment of CAPAC policies. General managers were Harry T. Jamieson 1925-47, William St Clair Low 1947-68, John Mills, QC 1968-86, and Michael R. Rock 1986-90. Presidents were Sir Ernest MacMillan 1947-69, Howard Cable 1969-71, Rosaire Archambault 1971-3, John Weinzweig 1973-5, C.C. Devereux 1975-7, Stéphane Venne 1977-9, John Bird 1979-80, Clermont Pépin 1981-2, Alexander Mair 1983-4, Marc Fortier 1985-6, George Ullmann 1987-8, and Louis Applebaum 1989-90..

In addition to its primary functions of licensing performances and collecting and distributing royalties, CAPAC provided support to the Canadian music community in other ways. Its bilingual monthly magazine The Canadian Composer/ Le Compositeur canadien first appeared in 1965 and continued until 1990 when it was superseded by Canadian Composer/Compositeur canadien, a magazine published in separate French and English editions by SOCAN.

In 1938 the CPRS inaugurated a competition for composers with a first prize of $750 for study at the TCM (RCMT). In 1941 it added a junior division. Among those who won awards were Louis Applebaum 1938, Robert Barclay 1938, 1939, Robert Fleming 1941, 1942, Graham George 1943, 1947, Paul McIntyre 1949, 1950, 1951, Oskar Morawetz 1945, 1946, Clermont Pépin special junior award 1937, regular awards 1946, 1947, 1948, Eldon Rathburn 1938, and Charles Wilson 1951.

In 1970 these scholarships were replaced by the Sir Ernest MacMillan Award/Fellowship and William St Clair Low Award/Fellowships (later Awards), the former awarded for compositions for 12 or more players, the latter for chamber music compositions for up to 12 players, or for electronic music or mixed media compositions. At first the fellowships were $2000 each, and were available only to composers who were graduates of Canadian universities and were intending to take up post-graduate studies in Canada. In 1976 the fellowships were increased to a total of $6000; students at the RCMT and the Conservatoire de musique du Québec became eligible to compete for them; and winners were permitted to continue their studies either in Canada or abroad. Winners of the Sir Ernest MacMillan and the St Clair Low Fellowships respectively were Alexina Louie and Clifford Ford 1970, David Paul 1971, Myra Grimley Dahl and Edward Dawson 1972, Christian L'Ecuyer and Bruce Pennycook 1973, Dennis Patrick and David Tanner 1974, Tomas Dusatko and Patrick Cardy 1975, Myke Roy 1976, Marjan Mozetich and Gilles Bellemare 1977, Michael Maguire (St Clair; no MacMillan award) 1978, Stephen Klein and Hope Lee 1979, and Alain Lalonde and Claude Caron 1980.

In 1981 a third category, the Hugh Le Caine Award for electronic music was added. Winners in all three categories 1981-4 were Serge Arcuri, Denis Gougeon, and Bernard Gagnon 1981, Brian Sexton, Hope Lee-Eagle, and Paul Dolden 1982, Timothy Brady, Michelle Boudreau, and Daniel Toussaint 1983, and Andrew MacDonald, Matthew Patton, and Paul Dolden 1984. In 1985 a fourth category was added, the Rodolphe Mathieu Award, for solo or duet compositions, won that year by Robert May (the other categories were won by Martin van de Ven, Michelle Boudreau and Mychael Danna). In 1986 a fifth category, the Godfrey Ridout Award for choral music was added. Subsequent first-prize winners of the MacMillan, St Clair Low, Mathieu, Ridout and Le Caine awards respectively were Robert May, Denis Dion, Reid Robins Denis Dion and Brent Lee 1986, Isabelle Marcoux, Robert May, and Michael Bussière (both Mathieu and Ridout; no Le Caine winner) 1987, Andrew MacDonald, Melissa Hui, Brent Lee, Elliot Freedman, and Jeff Ryan 1988, Alain Perron (no first-prize St Clair Low winner), James Rolfe, Roxanne Turcotte, and Veronika Krausas 1989, and Marc Hyland, Jeff Ryan, Micheline Roi, Anthony Rozankovic and Ned Bouhalassa 1990.

CAPAC grants to the RCMT helped fund the MacMillan (later CAPAC-MacMillan) LecturesCAPAC-MacMillan lectures, given annually 1963-77 as part of the RCMT Summer School. The inaugural lecturer was Glenn Gould. Subsequent lecturers were Sir Ernest MacMillan, Jean Vallerand, Zoltan Kodály, Welton Marquis, Peter Maxwell Davies, Ravi Shankar, Wilfrid Pelletier, Aaron Copland, Galt MacDermot, György Ligeti, Maureen Forrester, Luciano Berio, Arthur Schwartz, and Iannis Xenakis.

CAPAC was a founder-sponsor of the Canadian Music Centre and for many years provided financial assistance to the Canadian Music Council. One of the first orchestral concerts of Canadian music ever given - the TSO under MacMillan in works by Champagne, Dela, Ridout, Leo Smith, Vallerand, Weinzweig, and Willan, on 27 Jan 1948 at Massey Hall - was sponsored by CAPAC.

In 1963, with the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, CAPAC formed the CAPAC-CAB Committee, under the chairmanship of Louis Applebaum, for the promotion of Canadian music. Originally CAPAC set aside an annual fund of $50,000 for use by this committee, which devoted the money primarily to subsidizing recordings of music by CAPAC composers. The recordings appeared in the commercial record market on many labels, including Capitol, Columbia, RCA, Decca, Dominion, Select, etc. After 1972 CAPAC continued to support the interests of its members through two committees, one concentrating on pop music, the other on concert music, allocating substantial budgets to their projects.

In Paris on 19 Mar 1974 CAPAC presented a concert of music by Norma Beecroft, John Hawkins, Alan Heard, Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux, Norman Symonds, and John Weinzweig. In November 1977, in co-operation with the Dept of External Affairs and the Canadian Embassy in Bonn, it sponsored 'Rendezvous with Canada', a week of concerts which included premieres of works by Alexander Brott, Talivaldis Kenins, and Oskar Morawetz, and performances of compositions by Richard-Gaudreault Boucher, Harry Freedman, Serge Garant, Michel Gonneville, Derek Holman, Eldon Rathburn, Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux, Donald Steven, Norman Symonds, John Weinzweig, and Charles Wilson. Performers included Janina Fialkowska, the Festival Singers, the SMCQ, Canadian Brass, Robert Aitken, and Boris Brott, who conducted the Beethovenhalle Orchestra.

CAPAC grants were made to member composers to assist in the preparation of demonstration tapes, and in 1976 a series of Musical Portraits began to be issued. These small-disc recordings (later cassettes) each contained short excerpts from a composer's works and a brief biography. The editors for the series were Norma Beecroft and John Oswald.

To mark its 50th anniversary in 1975 CAPAC sponsored two TV specials: 'Superfleurs' on the CBC French network and 'Festival of Canadian Song' on the CBC English network. In 1978 CAPAC was host, in Toronto and Montreal, to the 31st Congress of CISAC, the International Conference of Societies of Authors and Composers.

In 1987 a series of formal negotiations was begun with PRO Canada, the other Canadian performing right society, to discuss the merger of the two organizations. A joint committee was formed with equal representation from the two societies, co-chaired by Louis Applebaum (representing CAPAC) and Hagood Hardy (of PRO Canada's board). Two years of intensive negotiations led to to the formation of new sets of principles, election procedures for a new board, administrative bylaws, and distribution rules. SOCAN was the name given to the combined performing right society formed in October 1989 and incorporated 16 Mar 1990.

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