Clifford Evens

Clifford Wallis Evens, conductor, violinist (born 19 October 1921 in Vancouver, BC; died 11 August 1980 in Toronto, ON).

Clifford Wallis Evens, conductor, violinist (born 19 October 1921 in Vancouver, BC; died 11 August 1980 in Toronto, ON). Clifford Evens was principal second violin with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), conducted the Victoria Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra (see Orchestra London Canada), and taught music at the University of Western Ontario.

Career Highlights

Evens studied violin with Josef Gingold in Detroit and Cleveland, and conducting with Sir John Barbirolli in Manchester and Hideo Saito at the Toho Gakuen, Tokyo. After 10 years as concertmaster and associate conductor of the Victoria Symphony, Evens joined the TSO in 1961 and became principal second violin in 1966. In 1963, he founded and conducted the Canadian Brass Ensemble (not to be confused with Canadian Brass), which presented educational concerts in Toronto schools. In 1969, he moved to London, Ontario, as the first full-time music director and conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (see Orchestra London Canada), a position he held until 1979.

Evens was also a member of the faculty of music at the University of Western Ontario (1971–75), where he conducted the university orchestra and opera. In 1971, he conducted that university's production of John Beckwith's Night Blooming Cereus. He also served as guest conductor for the Winnipeg and Minnesota symphonies, the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and for CBC Radio in Toronto and Vancouver.

His wife, Mary Evens (born Mary Bucklin in Guatemala; died 23 December 2007 in Victoria), a pupil of Robert Maas, Kurt Reher, and Leonard Rose, was assistant principal cello of the TSO (1961–70) and principal cello of the London SO (1970–79).

Memorial Award

The Clifford Evens Memorial Conducting Award was established in 1981 to help promising Canadian conductors further their careers. The annual award, administered by the London Music Scholarship Fund, is alternately awarded in the regions of London-Windsor, Toronto, and Vancouver-Victoria.

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


Further Reading

  • Richard Newman, “Clifford Evens: A Man with a Vision,” Musical Canada, vol. 44 (Fall 1980).

    Mary Ortved, "Mary Evens: A profile," Toronto Symphony News (May 1970).