James Dodsley Humphreys

James Dodsley Humphreys. Tenor, teacher, b Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, ca 1811, d Toronto 23 or 24 Feb 1877. Humphreys' claim (Toronto Patriot, 26 Apr 1844) to have been 'formerly of the Royal Academy of Music' is not substantiated.

Humphreys, James Dodsley

James Dodsley Humphreys. Tenor, teacher, b Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, ca 1811, d Toronto 23 or 24 Feb 1877. Humphreys' claim (Toronto Patriot, 26 Apr 1844) to have been 'formerly of the Royal Academy of Music' is not substantiated. His public appearances in Toronto in opera, oratorio, and recital span the years from at least 1835 to 1873. He was conductor or president of several short-lived choral societies and taught singing at Upper Canada College, at ladies' schools, and privately. For some years he was associated with St James' Cathedral as organist and choirmaster. Four of his waltzes and several ballads were published by J.T. Nunns (New York) in 1843. A song, 'The Junior Warden's Toast,' was dedicated to the members of St Andrew's (Masonic) Lodge No. 1 and was printed in Toronto. Humphreys was described as Toronto's 'favourite tenor' and 'not only a good teacher but perhaps the best performer in our midst'. He appeared in public more often and over a longer period than any other Toronto artist of the mid-19th century. A collection of compositions and other papers in the hands of the Miles family of Toronto was inspected by Michael Sinkewicz (B MUS, Toronto, 1987). His compilation resulting from his research has been instrumental in revising this entry.


Further Reading

  • DCB, vol 10

    'Toronto's pre-confederation music societies'.

    Rudman, Michel J., 'James Dodsley Humphreys: A Look at Musical Life in Mid-Nineteenth Century Toronto,' The York Pioneer, 2001, vol. 96, p. 8-26