Ezra Schabas. Administrator, teacher, clarinetist, writer, b New York 24 Apr 1924, naturalized Canadian 1967; Artist Diploma (Juilliard) 1943, B SC (Juilliard) 1947, MA (Columbia) 1948. He studied at the Juilliard School with Arthur Christmann (clarinet), Hans Letz (chamber music), and Rose Marie Grentzer (music education) and, while serving with the US forces in France during World War II, attended the conservatory in Nancy. He returned to France in 1949 to the American Cons at Fontainebleau. He also studied at Columbia U 1946-8 and 1951, at the ESM in 1950, and privately in New York with David Weber and in Paris with Gaston Hamelin. In 1952, after academic appointments in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, he joined the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, where he taught clarinet until 1978 and served 1952-60 as director of the RCMT Concert and Placement Bureau. Among his clarinet pupils have been Brian Barley, Paul Grice, Howard Knopf, Timothy Maloney, Peter Smith, and Patricia Wait. He became chairman of the university's performance and opera departments in 1968. That same year, in collaboration with POCA (OAC), he established the University of Toronto Student Conductors' Workshop. He was organizer and chairman of Canada's first 'Teaching Opera Conference,' sponsored in 1976 by the university opera department. He was principal 1978-83 of the RCMT, where he was founding director of the Orchestral Training Program, which has been funded by Employment and Immigration Canada and is designed to assist young Canadian orchestral players to find positions in Canadian orchestras. Schabas was the founder of the Association of Colleges and Conservatories of Music and served as its first president 1980-4. He returned to the Faculty of Music in 1983, retired from the University of Toronto in 1984, and was named professor emeritus in 1985. He was the founder and director of the Musical Performance and Communication program for professional musicians held at the University of Toronto, offered 1986-90 with the assistance of Employment and Immigration Canada, the OAC, and the ACO.
Schabas was a freelance clarinetist until 1960 with CBC orchestras, performed with the Paganini and Parlow string quartets, was a member 1956-60 of the Toronto Woodwind Quintet, and served 1958-61 as music manager of the Stratford Festival. He was a conductor of CBC and student ensembles; an instructor 1960-2, auditioner 1960-2 and 1965, and academic administrator 1960-2, 1964, and 1965 for the NYO; and a woodwind instructor in 1975 for the JM World Orchestra.
Schabas' practical knowledge of music education and administration and his experience as an organizer have made him a valued consultant and board member, and his informed and outspoken views have made him an authoritative guest lecturer and contributor to panel-discussions and periodicals. He served 1972-4 as the first president of the ACO. He has lectured in Canada, the USA, South America, and Europe for organizations such as the American Symphony Orchestra League (1984), the Learned Societies of Canada (1968, 1982, and 1988), and the Newberry Library, Chicago (1988). He was editor 1962-3 of the Canadian Music Educator and Canadian editor 1954-62 of the Musical Courier; and has contributed to Opera Canada, The Recorder, Performing Arts in Canada, the Globe and Mail, and Canadian Composer, and other periodicals. For years he engaged in research on the US pioneer orchestra builder and conductor Theodore Thomas. He has written articles for The New Grove Dictionary, The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, and EMC. Schabas prepared six reports 1966-88 on various aspects of music in Canada: Ontario Community Orchestras (Toronto 1966) and Choral Music in Ontario (Toronto 1970, in collaboration with Keith Bissell) were commissioned by the OAC; Toronto's New Orchestra (Toronto 1976), was commissioned jointly by the COC, the National Ballet of Canada, the OAC, the TS, and the CBC; A New Orchestra for New Brunswick (written in 1983 with Simon Streatfeild) was commissioned by the Canada Council; The University Settlement Music School was commissioned in 1986 by the school itself, and Music at the University of New Brunswick was commissioned in 1988 by the University of New Brunswick.
Theodore Thomas: America's Conductor and Builder of Orchestras 1835-1905 (Urbana, Ill 1989