Duet Club of Hamilton

The Duet Club of Hamilton. Oldest surviving women's musical club in Canada. Founded in Hamilton, Ont, in 1889 by Ellen Ambrose with 10 of her piano pupils, it was called the Haydn Duet Club because the students performed Haydn symphonies arranged as piano duets.

Duet Club of Hamilton

The Duet Club of Hamilton. Oldest surviving women's musical club in Canada. Founded in Hamilton, Ont, in 1889 by Ellen Ambrose with 10 of her piano pupils, it was called the Haydn Duet Club because the students performed Haydn symphonies arranged as piano duets. In the early years the club was limited to 21 active members who performed for their own enjoyment and education in private concerts. A Duet Club Chorus (founded ca 1900 by Mrs Frank Wanzer) was conducted successively by Bruce Carey, Mrs Harold Hamilton, Cyril Hampshire, Reginald Bedford, Gertrude Stares, and Bertha Carey Morrow. The choir disbanded, but was revived in 1967, and subsequently directed by Frank Thorolfson, Lorne Betts, and Lloyd Oaks. After 1910 the club added associate members, and eventually men could also hold memberships. As numbers increased the club moved from meetings in member's homes to a hall over Carey's Piano Warerooms, and then in 1910 to the Hamilton Conservatory of Music. In 1916 the club began sponsoring public recitals by a variety of Canadian and foreign artists, including the Baroque Trio of Montreal, Mona Bates, Bedford and Eby, Neil Chotem, Jean Dickenson, Arthur Garami, Vladimir Horowitz, Winifred Lugrin-Fahey, Guiomar Novaes, Gregor Piatigorsky, Gladys Swarthout, Leo Smith, and Albert Spalding. Club membership by the 1960s numbered over 200, and in 1989 there was a core of about 132 members- of which 43 were life members. A Student Duet Club flourished 1927-35 and was revived in 1942 and 1959. It was incorporated into the parent club in 1972. Besides the Ellen Ambrose Memorial Scholarship, established in 1940, the club has offered other scholarships and recital opportunities for young performers. In 1989, the club celebrated its 100th anniversary.


Further Reading

  • The Duet Club of Hamilton 1889-1964 (Hamilton 1964)

    The Duet Club of Hamilton. Anniversary Yearbook (Hamilton 1989)