Bedford and Eby

​Reginald Bedford (born 13 December 1909 in London, ON; died 9 December 1985 in Hamilton, ON) and Evelyn Eby (born 12 May 1909 in Outlook, SK; died 19 May 2012 in Hamilton) were duo pianists and teachers.

Reginald Bedford (born 13 December 1909 in London, ON; died 9 December 1985 in Hamilton, ON) and Evelyn Eby (born 12 May 1909 in Outlook, SK; died 19 May 2012 in Hamilton) were duo pianists and teachers. They made their debut as a team in 1938 and were married in 1948. They performed until 1979 before focusing solely on their careers as educators and administrators.

Education

Bedford and Eby were both pupils of Lyell Gustin in Saskatoon. Bedford also studied in the United States with Percy Grainger, Edwin Hughes, Alfred Madeley Richardson and Carl Friedberg, as well as on scholarship with Robert Casadesus at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France. Eby studied on scholarships in the US with Jeannette Durno and Josef Lhévinne. Eby earned her associate diploma at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music) in 1923, while Bedford obtained his there in 1924.

Performance Career

Bedford and Eby made their debut as a team in Chicago in 1938. After their debut recital at Eaton Auditorium in the fall of 1944, Saturday Night noted: “They have a broad and beautiful tone, superb execution; their interpretations are brilliant, thoughtful and imbued with musical feeling.” They made an appearance with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1945, performed weekly recitals on CBC Radio (1945–46), and appeared in New York at Town Hall in 1949 and in London at Wigmore Hall in 1956. Heavy teaching commitments curtailed their public performances and they gave their last recital at First Place for the Duet Club of Hamilton on 20 September 1979.

Career as Educators

Bedford was an examiner for the Western Board of Music (1940–42). He was also briefly head of the piano department at the Maritime Conservatory of Music in Halifax and organist at Halifax’s All Saints Cathedral prior to serving as principal of the Royal Hamilton College of Music (1944–48). He first examined for the Toronto Conservatory of Music in 1944. In 1948, he and Eby opened the Reginald Bedford Piano Studios in Hamilton. Bedford also began teaching at the Ontario Ladies' College in Whitby in 1968 and at McMaster University in 1972. His pupils included Bob Hahn, Gordon Hancock, Elaine Keillor and Marjan Mozetich.

Administrative Experience

Bedford was president of the Musical Art Club of Saskatoon (1931–33, 1939–41), the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA, 1957–59) and the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers Association (1959–63). Eby was president of the Musical Art Club (1937–39) and continued to teach at the Bedford Studio into the 1990s. She was a member of the Hamilton Branch of the ORMTA until her death at age 103. The bass James Eby is her brother.

Honours

McMaster University awards the annual Reginald Bedford Piano Scholarship to the winner of a piano competition open to both currently enrolled and future students. In 2015, the scholarship was worth up to $2,500.

A version of this entry originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.


Further Reading

  • “Prairie Pianistic Prodigy,' Maclean's, vol. 41, 1 January 1928.

    Hugh Fraser, “Bedford leaves vast musical legacy,” CFMTA Newsletter, vol. 39 (Winter 1986).

    "Evelyn Eby Bedford Celebrates Her 100th Birthday," ORMTA Newsletter, Hamilton-Halton Branch, 2009.