Albert Ham

Albert Ham. Choir conductor, teacher, composer, textbook author, organist, b Bath, 7 Jun 1858, d Brighton, 4 Feb 1940; FRCO 1883, D MUS (Dublin) 1894, honorary D MUS (Toronto) 1906, honorary DCL (Bishop's) 1933.

Ham, Albert

Albert Ham. Choir conductor, teacher, composer, textbook author, organist, b Bath, 7 Jun 1858, d Brighton, 4 Feb 1940; FRCO 1883, D MUS (Dublin) 1894, honorary D MUS (Toronto) 1906, honorary DCL (Bishop's) 1933. In Bath he began his studies with Joseph Hewitt and James K. Pyne and was a chorister and later organist at All Saints' Church. Further studies were with James Higgs and Varley Roberts in London and Julius Stockhausen in Frankfurt. He was organist 1880-93 at Ilminster and 1893-6 at Taunton. He moved to Toronto and served 1897-1933 as organist-choirmaster at St James' Anglican Cathedral. He also taught voice, organ, and composition 1897-1919 at the TCM, 1919-24 at the Canadian Academy, and again until 1932, at the TCM. After 1908 he lectured and examined at the University of Toronto. Jeanne Gordon, W.H. Hewlett, Leslie Holmes, and Helen Davies Sherry were among his pupils. He was the founder and the only conductor 1903-28 of the National Chorus, and a founder and the first president 1909-21 of the Canadian Guild of Organists (RCCO). He was an examiner 1923-36 for Bishop's University. His greatest distinction was, perhaps, his work as a choir trainer and perpetuator of the British choral tradition. In 1936 he retired to England.

Ham's most substantial work is the cantata The Solitudes of the Passion, performed in Toronto in April 1925. His compositions were published by Anglo-Canadian, Ditson, Gray, Hawkes & Harris, Nordheimer, Novello, and Whaley Royce.

Selected Compositions

3 marches

Canada. Whaley Royce 1908

The Queen's Own. (pre-1915)

Heroes of Canada. 1925

Imperium et unitas. 1909. Orch

Hear, O Ye Kings. 1910. SSAATTBB, orch

Hope of the Ages. Pre-1903. Choir, orch. Nordheimer 1903

The Solitudes of the Passion, cantata. Nov 1917

Suite. Pre-1926. Orch (Minuet and Trio arr for organ, Novello 1926)

Advent Cantata. Soli, choir, orch

Also a Berceuse for violin, piano (pre 1915), anthems, songs, etc, composed mostly before 1914; the anthem 'Alleluia! Christ is Risen' and two hymn tunes have been reprinted in CMH vols 9 and 5

Writings

A Manual on the Boy's Voice and Its Culture (London 1902)

Canadian Music Text-Book series (London): vol 1 Musical Ornaments and Graces (1914); vol 2 The Rudiments of Music and Elementary Harmony (1919); vol 3 Outlines of Musical Form (1924)

'The boy's voice and its training,' CQR, vol 1, Nov 1918

'The study of singing,' CQR, vol 1, Aug 1919

'The A.T.C.M. teachers' diploma in singing,' CQR, vol 11, Winter 1928


Further Reading

  • 'Distinguished Canadian organist, Dr. Albert Ham,' MT, vol 50, Sep 1909

    Hamilton, H.C. 'Albert Ham,' MCan, vol 10, Apr 1929

    'Albert Ham,' Toronto Telegram, 30 Jun 1933