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People and organizations

University of Toronto Music Library

  • Local
  • Corporate body
  • 1921-

In 1918 Toronto College of Music, founded in 1888, amalgamated with the Canadian Academy of Music, and in 1924 the academy was absorbed by the Toronto Conservatory of Music. The Toronto Conservatory of Music then gained the assets of both its rivals, including over one hundred vocal and orchestral scores. The University had taken over the ownership and operation of the conservatory by 1921, and therefore this collection became the foundation of the University of Toronto's music library.

Hugh Hornby Langton's, (University of Toronto's Chief Librarian, 1892-1922), donated a over a dozen scores from his own collection including orchestral works by Beethoven, Schubert, and Mendelssohn in piano duet arrangements from his courting days, which constitutes the University of Toronto's first efforts in collection building for the Music Library. More significantly, he had just returned from a European buying trip for the library, and its results included the addition of a dozen books on music, plus recent scores such as Stravinsky's Chant du rossignol and Sacre du printemps, and of several early tone poems by Richard Strauss.

Currently the library holds over 300,000 books, scores, periodicals and microforms.The Sniderman Recordings Collection, 180,000 sound recordings, from cylinders to blu-ray. The Olnick Rare Book Room, 2,500 volumes exemplifying the history of music and of music editing, performance and printing -- from liturgical manuscripts and early printed treatises, to first editions of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Gershwin, and early Canadian sheet music and tune books. A significant number of 18th- and 19th-century opera full scores, with particular strength in the French repertoire, complement the large libretto holdings of the Central Library.

Benson-Guy, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Benson Guy was a soprano, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 7, 1925; died on July 8, 2010 in Scarborough, Ontario. Her first music teacher was her mother, Sarah Louise Anderson. She then studied with Ernesto Vinci (Halifax and the Toronto Conservatory of Music) and Lotte Leonard (Julliard School). She made her operatic debut in 1947 at the Royal Conservatory Opera School (now the University of Toronto Opera Division) as Marie in The Bartered Bride. She then sang with the CBC Opera Company, and appeared in many CBC radio opera productions and song recitals. She also performed with the Opera Festival Association of Toronto, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the Festival Singers. She debuted at Carnegie Hall in New York on May 10, 1959 and at Wigmore Hall in London on October 31, 1967. She retired from public performance in 1974.

Benson Guy taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1969 to 1979 and at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. She retired in 1979.

Kraus, Greta

Greta Kraus was a harpsichordist, pianist accompanist, and teacher. Born in Vienna on August 3, 1907, she studied at the Vienna Academy of Music, from where she received her Music Teacher's Diploma (1930). She studied with Hans Weisse (1924-1931), and Heinrich Schenker (1931-1934). She performed as a soloist and an ensemble musician, including an appearance with the Boyd Neel Orchestra in London.

In 1938, Kraus immigrated to Hawkesbury, Ontario, before moving to Toronto in 1939 to teach at Havergal College. From 1943 to 1969, she taught at the Royal College of Music in Toronto, and then at the University of Toronto (1963-1976, part time after 1976). She coached lieder and taught harpsichord, accompanying, and Baroque performance practice. She was also the director of Collegium Musicum (Toronto).

Kraus was a prominent harpsichord player, known for her performances of Bach and twentieth-century composers. She performed with many musicians, including Arnold Walter, Robert Aitken (in the Aitken Kraus Duo, 1965-1986), Lois Marshall, and Sir Ernest MacMillan (in performances of the Messiah, St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, and Mass in B Minor, 1942-1956). In 1958, she founded the Toronto Baroque Ensemble (1958-1963) with Elizabeth Benson Guy, soprano, Nicholas Fiore, flute, Donald Whitton, cello, and Corol McCartney, violin.

Kraus received many awards for her contributions to music performance and education, including a citation from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (1973); Outstanding Woman of the Province of Ontario (1975); Toronto Arts Award (1990); the Order of Ontario (1991); and, the Order of Canada (1992).

She was married to chemist Erwin Dentay.

Kash, Eugene

Eugene "Jack" Kash was a violinist, conductor, and teacher in Toronto. He studied violin with Luigi von Kunits (1928-1931), Arthur Meieff (1928-1931), Otakar Ševčík (1931-1935), Bronislaw Huberman, Kathleen Parlow (1940-1941), and Dmitri Dounis, and conducting with William Steinberg and Igor Markevitch.

Kash performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1934-1942), in CBC orchestras, and was acting concertmaster for the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra's Promenade Symphony Concerts. Kash was the music director for the National Film Board (1948-1950); concertmaster (1944-1950) and conductor (1950-1957) of the Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra; academic administrator of the National Youth Orchestra (1963); and conductor of Montreal Symphony Orchestra youth concerts (1964-1965). In the 1940s and 1950s, he performed regularly with Greta Kraus and Pearl Palmason, and form 1961 to 1975, he participated in the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico with his wife, Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester. He was also a member of Soundstage Canada '81.

As a teacher, he worked at the Philadelphia Musical Academy (1967-1971), York University (1971-1973), and the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) (1975-2004).

He received the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal and the City of Toronto Award of Merit in 2004.

Mario Prizek

  • CA ON00349 2014.008
  • Person
  • 1922-2012

To examine the 34 years that trailblazing producer and director Mario Prizek spent at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is, in many ways, to track the development of Canadian media and society as a whole. A fearless and provocative creative spirit, Prizek often ruffled feathers at his place of employment as his work – ahead of its time in both content and style – polarized Canadian viewership, boldly tackling race, sexuality, and other hot button topics of the 1950s and 1960s.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta on March 22, 1922, Prizek was a first generation Canadian of Spanish, French, and Polish descent. Before being recruited by CBC Vancouver to produce radio in 1951, Prizek led a multi-faceted life: studying painting and design at Banff School of Fine Arts; dancing for Edmonton’s Empire Opera Company; serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force; and teaching English, theatre, painting, and design at University of British Columbia. Staying with CBC until the company’s period of mass layoffs in 1985, Prizek transferred to their Toronto offices in 1955; he would live in the city – including roughly five decades in the City Park complex – until his 2012 passing.

After joining CBC, Prizek became best known for his collaborations with musician Glenn Gould, including the series Music in Our Times, but they represent merely the tip of the iceberg: more than 60 productions comprise Prizek’s corpus. A deeper look at Prizek’s CV – both with CBC and with the British company Granada TV – reveals his commitment to the advancement of social issues. In 1955, he produced The Eleanor Show, a CBC Vancouver production starring Black singer Eleanor Collins. Overseas, Prizek produced South, the earliest surviving gay-themed British television drama, in 1959 – just two years after the Wolfenden Report. In what is perhaps the most turbulent period of Prizek’s career, he produced experimental television series Eye Opener in 1965; canceled after one season and modified by CBC management, the series tackled issues as diverse as drug use, racism, war, and homosexuality.

A career as prolific and a life as idiosyncratic as Prizek’s would be well worth celebrating even if they unfolded today but contextualizing them against their time and place in history make them all the more remarkable. Thriving in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” paradigm at the CBC well before the 1969 decriminalization of homosexual acts in Canada, Prizek straddled the fine line of public and private, creating a rich body of work in the process.

Hollar, Wenceslaus

  • Person
  • 1607-1677

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) set the standard of artistic and technical achievement that many later engravers attempted to emulate. In every area Hollar's work stands out as a source of information on common life in 17th century Europe. It ranges from topography and landscapes, to depictions of local dress from a variety of regions. Born in Prague, he lived and worked in London, where his views of the city form an invaluable record of its appearance before the Great Fire of 1666.

Hunter, E. Robert

  • Person
  • 1909-2011

E. Robert Hunter was born June 4, 1909 to Carl and Ethelwyn Hunter in Toronto, Canada. He graduated from Appleby School in 1925, and from Upper Canada College Prep in 1928. He attended the University of Toronto in 1928 and 1929, then studied art at the Ontario College of Art and the Royal Ontario Museum. He went to England to study at the Courtauld Institute, where he graduated in 1936. While touring in Germany he met Frances Meriwether, who became his wife in 1938. After returning to Canada he worked at the Art Gallery of Toronto (now Ontario) and then The Art Association of Montreal. He became a U.S. citizen in 1943 after a stint in the U.S. Army. He was twice director of the Norton Gallery (now Museum) of Art for a total of seventeen years, the first time beginning in 1943. He then directed the High Museum in Atlanta, the Jacksonville Art Museum, The Dade County Art Museum (Viscaya), McCormick Place Gallery in Chicago and the Norton again from 1963-1975. He is the author of the biographies J.E.H. MacDonald (Ryerson Press, 1940) and Thoreau MacDonald (Ryerson Press, 1942). Hunter passed away on July 23, 2011.

Henderson, Douglas

  • Person
  • 1944-

Douglas Henderson was born in Kitchener, Ont., in 1944, but now resides in Victoria, BC. He is a teacher of Buddhism, a writer on Tibetan art and Buddhism, as well as a poet. In 1978, he was appointed Registrar of the Art Gallery of Great Victoria where he wrote The Arts of Tibet. His poetry has appeared in Raven, The Endless Knot and The Message Makers, and in Japanese translation in Sarvodaya. He is a ngagpa (Tibetan yogi) and an ordained priest in the Tomitsu Shugendo Tradition of Japan.

Bascom H. Darwin

  • Person
  • 1913-1988

Bascom H. Darwin (1913-1988) was a Canadian born civil engineer. He trained at the Royal Military College and later enlisted with the Royal Canadian Engineers.

Kelly, Virginia

  • Person

Virginia Kelly is the founder of VK & Associates, a Toronto-based public-relations firm that specializes in film and television events. The company was founded in 1989. Over the years the company has established itself as one of the country’s leading public relations firm. The company has easily transitioned from the late days of print-based promotion, to the now digital and internet publicity. Many successful and well recognized film festivals have worked with VK & Associates, including Toronto’s Hot Docs.

Stratton, John

John (Reginald) Stratton was born on August 1, 1931 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and died January 2, 2001 in Toronto. He was a baritone singer, record historian and producer, and philosophy professor at the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto (1971-1991).

Stratton attended Upper Canada College, a private boys' school in Toronto, before attending Trinity College, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 1954, followed by his Master of Arts (MA) in 1958, and PhD in Philosophy in 1969. He studied voice with Gina Cigna and Aksel Schiøtz at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and Florence Easton and Herbert Janssen in New York.

He wrote articles for the Record Collector, the Journal of the British Institute of Recorded Sound, Opera Quarterly, the Association of Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) journal, and gave several lectures on early recording practices and vocal styles. In 1986, he received a Grammy nomination for his work on the liner notes that accompanied the Mapleson Cylinder Project collection, published by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives, Lincoln Centre.

Stratton collected records from the 1940s until his death, with a focus on solo vocal and opera recordings. In 1966, he founded his own record label Cantilena, distributed by Rococo Records.

Clarke, Stephen

  • Local
  • Person
  • 1946-

Stephen Clarke was born in 1946 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He attended Trinity College, where he met and became friends with John Stratton (1931-2000). Clarke studied law, in addition to taking voice lessons with Howell Glynn at the Royal Conservatory of Music; Elizabeth Benson Guy and her mother-in-law Greta Kraus at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music; and Gladys Whitehead at the Hamilton Conservatory. In 1978, he stopped appearing in professional music performances to focus on his career as a lawyer. However, music continued to be an important part of his life. Clarke and Stratton remained friends throughout their lives, and Stratton made Clarke his estate trustee.

After Stratton's death in 2000, Clarke continued to contribute to Stratton's record collection, and obtained thousands of digital audio files from Ward Marston and from the Sir Paul Getty collection.

Clarke is currently the chair-person for Historic Masters Ltd. He regularly lectures on the Stratton-Clarke collection and historic vocal recordings for artists of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music.

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