Music at Queen's University | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Music at Queen's University

Queen's University. Founded in Kingston, Ont, by the Presbyterian Church in 1841; it was a non-denominational university after 1912.

Music at Queen's University

Queen's University. Founded in Kingston, Ont, by the Presbyterian Church in 1841; it was a non-denominational university after 1912. It is noted for its law, medical and sciences faculties, for graduate programs in many disciplines and for the collections of Canadiana (including concert programs and early Canadian sheet music) in the Douglas Library.

Music Instruction to 1969
Although the need for a department of music was debated at the turn of the century, the first music instruction at Queen's University was offered in the summer of 1932, when a vocal music course was given by Eduardo Petri of the Metropolitan Opera. Petri returned to Queen's to train a choir in 1933 and possibly in 1934.

In 1935 Frank Llewellyn Harrison (b Dublin 29 Sep 1905, d Canterbury, England, 29 Dec 1987) accepted an invitation to create a music program, became resident musician and began teaching music appreciation courses. His program included the development of a record collection and the establishment of university choral and orchestral societies. A full-credit course in music was introduced in 1938, and Harrison was taken on staff in 1942. He revisited Queen's as a guest lecturer in the fall term of 1980. In the late 1940s the university initiated a BA with a music concentration. A formal Department of Music was established in 1968, and in 1969 it introduced a four-year B MUS program designed to prepare students for teaching careers. Graham George, who joined Queen's University as both teacher and resident musician in 1946, served as acting head of the department 1968-71. Other staff members who made significant contributions to the development of the department and its programs during the 1960s and 1970s included F.R.C. Clarke and David Smith.

Music Instruction 1970-Present

In 1971 a period of expansion began. István Anhalt was appointed head of the department, and served until 1981. From approximately 30 students in 1970 enrolment grew to about 200 in 1990, with a faculty of 51 (16 full-time and 35 part-time). Degrees offered in 1989-90 were a B MUS (music education, theory/composition, history/literature, performance), BA (minor), BA (medial), BA (major in musicology) and an L MUS artist diploma (1988-96). In 2007 there were 165 full-time music students and a faculty of 50 (13 full-time and 37 part-time). Degrees included a B MUS (musicology, theory/composition, performance), BA (minor concentration), BA Honours and a five-year concurrent B MUS/B ED program (begun in 2003). About 20 scholarships have been awarded annually, including the Arthur L. Davies and Don Wright scholarships.

In 1973 the department moved into its own building, Harrison-Le Caine Hall (named after Frank Llewellyn Harrison and Hugh Le Caine), which boasts, among other facilities, the Electroacoustic Music Studio (directed by David Keane beginning in 1970 and Kristi Allik beginning in 1996), the Computer Laboratory for Applications in Music (established in 1988), the Early Music Instrument Room (opened in 2001) and various small performance spaces. The music library, previously housed in Harrison-Le Caine Hall, joined the W.D. Jordan Special Collections Library in 1999. In 2007 the school established the Queen's Conservatory of Music (QCM), offering non-credit courses to university students and members of the community.

In 1988 the Queen's University Department of Music became the School of Music, and the title of head (held from 1981 by F.R.C Clarke) was changed to director. In 1991 Clarke was succeeded by Clifford Crawley 1991-2, followed by Alfred Fisher 1992-7, Ireneus Zuk 1997-2003, Gordon E. Smith 2003-06, John Burge beginning in 2006, and Margaret Walker beginning in 2010. Other staff members at Queen's University School of Music have included Duane Bates, Gisele Dalbec-Szczesniak, Beverley Diamond, Karen Frederickson, Donelda Gartshore (Donelda Hunter), Ewelina Kwasniewska, Roberta Lamb, Valery Lloyd-Watts, Olga E. Malyshko, Clara Marvin, Marjan Mozetich, Karen Pegley, Bruce Pennycook, Brenda Ravenscroft, Rudolph Schnitzler and Adrienne Shannon, among others.

Honorary Degrees

Queen's University has conferred honorary doctorates on Sir Ernest MacMillan (1941), Healey Willan (1952), Marian Anderson (1962), Godfrey Ridout (1967), Alfred Whitehead (1970), W. Allen Fisher (1972), Frank L. Harrison (1974), Hugh Le Caine (1974), Stanley Osborne (1974), Oscar Peterson (1976), Jon Vickers (1984), István Anhalt (1991), John Beckwith (1998), Robbie Robertson (2003), Loreena McKennitt (2005) and Ben Heppner (2006).

Music Performances and Special Events

The Vághy String Quartet was the university's quartet-in-residence 1968-91. The Windsong Trio, founded in 1983, consisted of faculty members Carol-Lynn Reifel (soprano), Donelda Hunter (flute) and Ireneus Zuk (piano). Student performing groups have included the choral ensemble, orchestra, chamber singers, collegium musicum, new music groups, glee club (active late 1930s-60s), jazz and wind ensembles, a samba group, a women's chorus and a musical theatre club (founded in 1969). The Queen's Student Opera Company, established in 1997, has staged such productions as Britten's The Turn of the Screw (2002); Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel (2003); Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (2004); Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore (2005); Poulenc's Les Dialogues des Carmelites (2006); Rossini's The Barber of Seville (2007); and Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci (2008).

Although not affiliated with the School of Music, the Queen's Bands, which consist of 120 musicians, Highland dancers and cheerleaders, were formed in 1905 and have performed across Canada and in the United States.

The Queen's University School of Music has sponsored the Richardson Recital Series, begun in 1987 to showcase some of the faculty, and the Mosaic concert series, which highlights faculty and student composition. The school has organized a number of student competitions, including the Concerto/Aria Competition, granting the winner an appearance with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. Performances, master classes and lectures have been given annually by international artists, including John Beckwith, Jane Coop, Paul Doktor, Maureen Forrester, Angela Hewitt, Clermont Pépin, Heather Schmidt, Janos Starker and Rosalyn Tureck. Major conferences at Queen's included "A Celebration of Canadian Music" in 1986, as part of the International Year of Canadian Music. During the summer, the facilities of the Queen's University School of Music have been used by such organizations as the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and the Suzuki Institute.

Further Reading