Charles Henry Porter

Charles Henry Porter. Organist-choirmaster, teacher, composer, b Naugatuck, Conn, 1 Feb 1856, d New Haven, Conn, 26 Sep 1929. Porter is known to have been in Halifax as early as 1877, when he conducted the Halifax Philharmonic Union in the inaugural concert of the Academy of Music.

Porter, Charles Henry

Charles Henry Porter. Organist-choirmaster, teacher, composer, b Naugatuck, Conn, 1 Feb 1856, d New Haven, Conn, 26 Sep 1929. Porter is known to have been in Halifax as early as 1877, when he conducted the Halifax Philharmonic Union in the inaugural concert of the Academy of Music. Except for the mid-1880s, when he studied in Leipzig, Porter was organist-choirmaster 1881-1906 at St Matthew's Presbyterian Church and a founder (1882) and the conductor, until 1906, of the Orpheus Club in Halifax. He was a member ca 1890 of the Leipzig Trio, with Heinrich Klingenfeld (violin), and Ernst Doering (cello).

For his work as the first director (1887-1900) of the Halifax Conservatory (Maritime Conservatory of Music) Porter was described as 'one of the Fathers of Music in Halifax, for it is through his patient and capable teaching that Halifax can boast of so many home-reared artists in the piano and organ branches' (Halifax Herald, 15 May 1907). After his resignation from the conservatory Porter pursued a career as an executive with the Equitable Life Assurance Co, but maintained his other musical affiliations in Halifax until 1906, when he moved to New Haven. In 1903 he was Sir Alexander Mackenzie's associate conductor for the Halifax presentations of the Cycle of Musical Festivals.

Porter's compositions include Violin Sonata, Opus 1 (Kistner 1886), 'Serenade' (G. Schirmer 1887, words by C.G.D. Roberts), and a Te Deum in C (G. Schirmer 1891). His Christmas anthem 'Sing unto the Lord' was performed often at St Matthew's.

Porter's brother Samuel (d Halifax before 1895) was organist-choirmaster 1876-87 at St Paul's Church, Halifax, and the violist and leader of the Haydn Quintette in the early 1880s.


Further Reading

  • Talbot, Hugo ed. Musical Halifax 1903-4 (Halifax 1904)

    Halifax Evening Mail, 30 Sep 1929

    Minutes of St Matthew's Church, Halifax, NS

    Blakeley, Phyllis R. 'History of music teaching in Nova Scotia,' unpublished manuscript, 1966