Harry Crane Perrin

Harry Crane Perrin. Educator, administrator, composer, organist, b Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire, England, 19 Aug 1865, d Exeter, England, 6 Nov 1953; D MUS (Trinity, Dublin) 1901, FRCO.

Perrin, Harry Crane

Harry Crane Perrin. Educator, administrator, composer, organist, b Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire, England, 19 Aug 1865, d Exeter, England, 6 Nov 1953; D MUS (Trinity, Dublin) 1901, FRCO. He was educated at Wellingborough and at Trinity College, Dublin; held church positions in Rathfarnham, Ireland, and Lowestoft, England; and served as organist-choirmaster and director of the musical societies 1892-8 at Coventry Cathedral and 1898-1908 at Canterbury Cathedral. He resigned from the cathedral to accept positions in Canada as director of the McGill Cons, Montreal, and the first professor of music at McGill University, positions he held until his retirement in 1930. His term was distinguished by three main achievements: the establishment of a university orchestra in 1909, the development of a Canadian system of music examinations, and the founding in 1920 of the McGill University Faculty of Music, which he served as dean until 1930. Perrin was a product of the English cathedral tradition. His gifts as an administrator, so important in the formative years of the faculty, were supplemented by his wide experience in music, not only as a respected organist but also as an able composer.

Perrin wrote songs, choral works, cantatas, and organ and orchestral pieces. His cantata, Abode of Worship, and the choral setting, Pan's Pipes, were published by Breitkopf, and the Song of War by Weekes. Other songs and sacred works were issued by Novello. One of his hymn tunes has been reprinted in CMH vol 5.

It was Perrin's belief that music had a special role to play in Montreal as a bridge between the English- and French-language groups and he campaigned earnestly for the building of an adequate concert hall. His first impressions of Canada are recorded in his article 'Music in Canada' in University Magazine (April 1911) and his many essays, articles, and lectures are deposited in the McGill University Archives.


Further Reading

  • McGill Music Month: April 10 to May 8, 1975, 70th Anniversary pamphlet (Montreal 1975)