Patrick Wedd

Patrick Laurence Perry Wedd, organist-choirmaster, music director, harpsichordist, composer (born 4 January 1948 in Simcoe, ON; died 19 May 2019 in Montreal, QC). Patrick Wedd began his career as an organist-choirmaster at the age of 12. He held positions at churches throughout Southern Ontario, in Vancouver from 1970 to 1986, and in Montreal until his retirement in 2018. Wedd performed extensively in Canada and the United States. His recitals included premieres of works by Thomas Baker, Alex Pauk and Jerome Summers. He gave inaugural recitals on the first Casavant organ in Adelaide, Australia, and the Gabriel Kney organ at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall. As a composer, he had works commissioned by the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the British Columbia Choral Federation, the Vancouver Bach Choir and the Tudor Singers of Montreal.

Early Life and Education

Patrick Wedd began organ studies with J. Laurence Slater at age 11. At 12, he became organist-choirmaster at St. Paul’s Church in Port Robinson, Ontario. After holding similar positions in St. Catharines and Thorold, Ontario, he served as sub-organist to Norman Hurrle at the Cathedral of St. James in Toronto (1966–69), and as a recitalist in various churches.

Wedd studied organ with Hurrle and harpsichord with Greta Kraus. He was an Albert Ham Organ Scholar at Trinity College, University of Toronto, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music in 1970. In 1969, he won the international Young Organists Competition held by the Royal Canadian College of Organists (RCCO). From 1970 to 1972, he studied on scholarship with Hugh McLean at the University of British Columbia, where he earned a master’s degree in music.

Playing Career

In 1973, Patrick Wedd was chosen by the RCCO to attend an organ course in Belgium given by Flor Peeters. Wedd was organist-choirmaster at St. Mary’s Anglican Church (1970–75) and Christ Church Cathedral (1975–86) in Vancouver. He was co-director of Hortulani Musicae (1972–75) and also keyboard player with the Vancouver Society for Early Music, the Cecilian Ensemble, the Vancouver New Music Society and Array West. He was also a founding member of Days Months and Years to Come (a.k.a. Magnetic Band). In 1974, he was founding director of Quorum, an ensemble of six vocalists. Quorum was the first Canadian group to perform Stockhausen’s Stimmung and the premieres of works by Thomas Baker and Alex Pauk.

Wedd’s organ recitals included premieres of works by Thomas Baker, Alex Pauk and Jerome Summers. He performed extensively in Canada and the United States. In 1979, he gave the inaugural recital on the first Casavant organ to be installed in Adelaide, Australia, and in 1982, the inaugural recital on the Gabriel Kney organ at Roy Thomson Hall. His playing style was marked by a prodigious technique and considerable sensitivity to a composer’s style (his sense of line was particularly acute).


Music Director

In 1983, Patrick Wedd was director of music for the opening ceremonies of the Sixth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver (see also Canadian Council of Churches). In 1986, he moved to Montreal to become the artistic director of the Tudor Singers and director of music at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul. He held the latter appointment until 1991.

At St. Andrew and St. Paul, he administered and appeared in a major concert series, including annual performances of Handel’s Messiah with baroque orchestra and Christmas broadcasts for CBC Radio and Television. In 1992, he became director of music at Montreal’s Church of St. John the Evangelist. He also founded the semi-professional choir Musica Orbium and served as its artistic director for many years. He also served as music director at Montreal’s Christ Church Cathedral from 1993 to 2018.

Compositions

Patrick Wedd composed a great deal of liturgical music, including masses, psalm settings, chants, anthems, psalm tones, hymn arrangements, fanfares, and settings of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis. His other works include Nines (1978) for solo flute; A Bird of Fire (1978, texts by Thomas Merton) for mezzo soprano and keyboards; and L'Imposition de la Neige (1987) for choir. Wedd had works commissioned by the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the British Columbia Choral Federation, Christ’s Church Cathedral in Hamilton, the Anglican Diocese of Vancouver, the Tudor Singers, the St. Lambert Choral Society and the Vancouver Bach Choir.