Hepner, Lee

Lee (Alfred) Hepner. Conductor, teacher, b Edmonton 24 Nov 1920, d Vancouver 24 Jul 1986; ARCT 1950, B MUS (Toronto) 1951, BA (Washington) 1957, MA (Columbia) 1961, honorary FRHCM 1970, PH D (New York) 1972. Lee Hepner organized the Edmonton Pops Orchestra in 1947 before moving to Toronto to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music. His doctoral thesis was 'An analytical study of selected Canadian orchestral compositions of the mid-20th century,' based on the works of Harry Freedman, Harry Somers, and John Weinzweig. Hepner conducted the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra 1949-50 and studied conducting in New York 1950-1, in Hilversum and Los Angeles in 1954, and at the Pierre Monteux School, Maine, during the summer of 1956.

Hepner was the founding conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 1952 and directed it for eight years. Moving to Hamilton, he served as music director of the McMaster Operatic Society 1961-7, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra 1962-9, and the Hamilton Opera Company 1966-72. He guest-conducted orchestras in Canada, the US, and Europe, and taught in 1959 at the Jeunesses musicales, Weikersheim, West Germany, while on a Canada Council scholarship in Europe. Hepner also taught 1960-1 and 1970 at Queen's College of the City University of New York, and at McMaster University from 1961 until his death. He founded the McMaster Symphony Orchestra, a community orchestra with ties to the university, in 1973. The orchestra regularly collaborated with the Mohawk College Singers, founded and conducted by Hepner's wife, Patricia Rolston. In 1976, at Dundurn Castle, Hamilton, Hepner conducted the Mohawk College Opera Theatre in the first staged, orchestrally accompanied performance of Joseph Quesnel's Colas et Colinette since the 1807 revival.

The jazz saxophonist Darcy Hepner is his son.

Writings

'Rossini and his world,' Music Journal, vol 27, Mar 1969

Dimensions of Music: An Introduction to the Theory of Music (Toronto 1973, 1979)