Howard Dyck

In 1972 Dyck became conductor and artistic director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir (later renamed the Grand Philharmonic Choir) and in 1988 also of its Chamber Singers.

Dyck, Howard

 (John) Howard Dyck. Conductor, broadcaster, b Winkler, Man, 17 Nov 1942; ARCT (Royal Conservatory of Music) 1963, AMM (Western Board of Music) 1963, BA (Goshen College, Indiana) 1964, hon LLD (Waterloo) 1996, hon LLD (Wilfrid Laurier) 1996. Howard Dyck sang in a church choir as a child and studied piano and violin. He attended Winnipeg's Mennonite Brethren College of Arts 1961-3, working as a radio announcer in nearby Altona while at university, then taught school for three years in BC and Manitoba. After that, with support from the German Academic Exchange 1967-9 and the Canada Council for the Arts (Arts Study Grant, 1972, 1981), he undertook advanced studies in conducting with Martin Stephani at the Hochschule für Musik (Detmold, Germany) and with Helmuth Rilling at the Internationale Bachakademie (Stuttgart, Germany). In 1972 he began his professional conducting career, and in 1976 he began his professional radio career.

Conducting Appointments

In 1972 Dyck became conductor and artistic director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir (later renamed the Grand Philharmonic Choir) and in 1988 also of its Chamber Singers. He also conducted the Kitchener Bach Choir (1972-81); London Pro Musica (1975-8 and 1982-7); and the Stratford Concert Choir (1981-4). In 1994, he became artistic director of the International Festival of the Arts (Classical Music), and in 2006, concurrently with the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic appointment, conductor and artistic director of the Bach-Elgar Choir of Hamilton.

Howard Dyck's Consort Caritatis Choir and Orchestra (1994- ) is a charitable organization that performs, records, and tours internationally. In the 1990s, the group released highlights from Handel's Messiah (Sony Classical, 1994); Verdi's Messa da Requiem (1998); and Haydn's Creation (1998). In the 2000s, Consort Caritatis released recordings of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis (EMI, 2000) and Brahms's Ein deutches Requiem (2002), and a CD entitled Classic Caritatis (2003). The organization has donated over $219,000 to such causes as Habitat for Humanity, the Mennonite Central Committee, and World Vision.

Guest Conducting

As guest conductor, Dyck has worked with dozens of choirs and orchestras, mainly in Canada and Europe. These include ensembles in Ontario (Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Orchestra London Canada, Hamilton Philharmonic); Manitoba (Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Singers); Saskatchewan (Saskatoon Symphony); BC (Chorfest '96); and New Brunswick (Symphony New Brunswick). In addition, he has guest-conducted ensembles in Austria (Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Mozarteum Orchestra); Bulgaria (Bulgarian National Choir, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra); China (Kunming Symphony Orchestra); the Czech Republic (Czech State Philharmonic Orchestra); Estonia; Finland; Germany; Hungary; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russia; Spain; and Turkey.

Broadcasting and Other Activities

A member of the American Federation of Musicians, the International Federation of Choral Music, and the Canadian Media Guild, Howard Dyck hosted CBC Radio's Mostly Music (1976-9); Choral Concert (1980- ); and Saturday Afternoon at the Opera (1987-2007). In those radio positions, he interviewed many important international and Canadian performers and conductors. He also appeared on CBC Television and Vision TV (2001- ), taught privately, and taught at the Mennonite Brethren College of the Arts (1969-71) and Wilfrid Laurier University (1971-82). In addition, he spoke publicly for various Canadian choral associations (including keynote addresses in 1990 and 2004 for the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors); opera organizations (such as the 2002-3 Opera Canada Ruby Awards); orchestras; universities; churches; and clubs.


Howard Dyck's awards have included Music Magazine's Choral Recording of the Year (1985); a Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Award (1990); inclusion in the Canadian Who's Who (1992); a CBC Radio People's Choice Award (1995); distinguished service awards from the Ontario and Canadian choral associations (1996, 2004); an honorary music professorship from the Yunnan Arts Institute (Kunming, China, 1999); the Order of Canada (2000); and a Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). His performances are often broadcast on CBC Radio.


"Podium '90 closing address," Anacrusis, Summer 1990

"Lois Marshall - an appreciation," La Scena Vocale, March-April 1997

Further Reading

  • Piros, Joanna. "Howard Dyck: A love story," Radio Guide, 14 Feb 1994

    Eatock, Colin. "Saturday afternoon at the studio," Opera Canada, Summer 1998

    "Snapshot No. 2," WholeNote, 1 Dec 2003-7 Feb 2004