Robert Cram | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Robert Cram

Robert Cram. Flutist, teacher, b Montreal 10 May 1948; B MUS (Juilliard) 1968.

Robert Cram

Robert Cram. Flutist, teacher, b Montreal 10 May 1948; B MUS (Juilliard) 1968. Cram studied flute with Hervé Baillargeon at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in the early 1960s, and attended the Jeunesses musicales of Canada (YMC) camp at Mount Orford in 1963 and 1966, where his teachers included Christian Lardé. At the Juilliard School he studied with Julius Baker and Samuel Baron and won various scholarships and awards. He played in the National Youth Orchestra in 1966 and was a first-prize winner in the 1967 CBC Talent Festival.

As Performer

Cram played in the Stratford Festival orchestra 1967-9, often performing as soloist. He was artist-in-residence 1968-9 at the Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he rehearsed and performed contemporary repertoire with a resident ensemble. He toured with the latter in New England and New York state. In 1969 he became a founding member (principal flute) of the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO), and by 1991 he had been a soloist with the orchestra in some 75 works.

Cram often has appeared on CBC radio and TV; as a teenager he appeared on "Wilfrid Pelletier rencontre" and "Heure du concert." He performed in recital and in chamber music series at Expo 67, the Festival of the Sound, the International Carnival of Sound (London 1972), Music at Sharon, the St Lawrence Centre, and York University, and with the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec. Cram has also appeared as soloist with CBC radio orchestras, the Chamber Players of Toronto, the McGill Chamber Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, Thirteen Strings, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with Kenneth Gilbert, Erica Goodman, Igor Kipnis, Anton Kuerti, Mireille Lagacé, Jean-Pierre Rampal, and Jean-Paul Sevilla.

Patrick Cardy, Steven Gellman, Gary Hayes, Stanley Lunetta, Carman Moore, Yuji Takahashi, Gilles Tremblay, and several US composers have written works for Cram. He recorded Bach's Sonata in B minor (1967, CBC SM-71), Larry Lake's Israfrel (Trappist TRAP-9003 CD), and Mozart's Flute Concerto K314 and Concerto for Flute and Harp K299 with the NACO (1974, CBC SM-262; awarded the Canadian Music Council's Grand prix du disque), and appeared as soloist on the 2003 recording Jacques Hétu: Concertos (CBC SMCD 5228; 2004 Juno award).

As Teacher and Director

Cram began teaching at the University of Ottawa in 1970. He also taught at Carleton University and has given master classes at Domaine Forget and at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts. He has been a music commentator for CBC radio, mostly on the subject of new music. He became a founding member in 1986 of the Pierrot Ensemble - a new-music chamber group comprised largely of NACO players - and in the same year became music director of Espace Musique. In 2001 he became artistic director of "A Window on Somers," a recording series devoted to the music of Harry Somers.


Robert Cram was named a Chevalier de l'ordre des arts et des lettres by the government of France in 1998. In 2009 he received the Ontario Arts Council's first Oskar Morawetz Award for Excellence and was named an ambassador of the Canadian Music Centre.