University of Toronto. Electronic Music Studio

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University of Toronto. Electronic Music Studio

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By the late 1950s, Electronic Music had become an accepted academic discipline. It opened new areas of musical experience and extended the modern musicians' traditional range of taste. It created an awareness of the perimeters of musical performance and composition to an extent that was impossible until the techniques and equipment of Electronic Music were developed. In order to make available the results and benefits of the research and instruction in this area, Dr. Arnold Walter, in his capacity as Director, established in May of 1959 the Electronic Music Studio (UTEMS) as an integral and permanent division within the Music Faculty of the University of Toronto. Dr. Hugh Le Caine, of the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, was the technical advisor who maintained a dominant role in the technical development of new equipment and studio techniques. The original staff consisted of Dr. Arnold Walter, Professor Harvey Olnick, and Professor Myron Schaeffer.

UTEMS was the second university studio in North America. It followed the creation of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1958. The New York studio was funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The initial proposal suggested a consortium that was to include the University of Toronto studio, but Rockefeller apparently intervened and rejected the plan.

The Electronic Music Studio of the University of Toronto was initially housed in an old house on Division Street, near Spadina and College—now the site of the CAMH building—pending completion of the new Edward Johnson Memorial Faculty of Music Building.

Myron Schaeffer was hired in 1958 to teach musicology and to develop the Electronic Music Studio. Correspondence from 1957-58 indicates that musicologist Harvey Olnick (an American, coming to the faculty via Columbia-Princeton) made enquiries about equipment purchases for the studio.

Following Schaeffer's death in 1965, Professor Gustav Ciamaga became the director of the studio. While Ciamaga was Dean of the Faculty of Music in the mid 80s, the position was passed to Professor Dennis Patrick. Since 2019, UTEMS has been under the direction of Professor Eliot Britton.


Toronto, Ontario

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Patrick, Dennis (1949-)

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[1985?] - 2009

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Dennis Patrick took over the directorship of the studio in the mid-1980s, and maintained this position until his retirement in 2009.

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Ciamaga, Gustav (1930-2011)

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Gustav Ciamaga succeeded Myron Schaeffer as the director of UTEMS (1965 to mid-1980s).

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Schaeffer, Myron (1908-1965)

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Myron Schaeffer was one of the founding members of UTEMS in 1959, and was the director of the studio until his death in 1965.

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Created February 19, 2020. Last revised October 25, 2023.




History of the University of Electronic Music Studio written by Dennis Patrick (2023).

Other sources:
Greenleaf, Tyler. "New music: From Canada's first Electronic Music to today's New Music Festival #tbt", University of Toronto Faculty of Music : 100 years (January 17, 2019).

Patrick, Dennis. "UTEMS Tape Library." eContact!, Vol. 10 (March 2009).

Rancic, Michael. "A Nation of Tinkerers: How a Canadian University Shaped Electronic Music in North America." Noisey: Music by Vice (February 25, 2016).

Schaeffer, Myron. "The Electronic Music Studio of the University of Toronto." Journal of Music Theory 7, no. 1 (Spring 1963): 73-81.

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