John Konrad

Konrad, John. Violinist, teacher, choir conductor, b Halbstadt, southern Ukraine, 22 Nov 1899, d Winnipeg 24 Nov 1962. He studied violin in Russia and emigrated to Canada ca 1926, settling in Winkler, Man, and moving to Winnipeg in 1931.

Konrad, John

Konrad, John. Violinist, teacher, choir conductor, b Halbstadt, southern Ukraine, 22 Nov 1899, d Winnipeg 24 Nov 1962. He studied violin in Russia and emigrated to Canada ca 1926, settling in Winkler, Man, and moving to Winnipeg in 1931. He was choirmaster 1935-43 at the First Mennonite Church, 1945-50 at Bethel Mission Church, and 1950-5 at Sargent Mennonite Church. In 1937 he joined the staff of the Bornoff School of Music as a violin instructor and head of the string department. Konrad also, 1947-54, was the first head of the music department at the Canadian Mennonite Bible College and ca 1959-62 directed the choir of the Canadian German Society. With his wife, Emma, a singer, and his daughter Irma, a pianist, he gave recitals in rural areas of Manitoba and Ontario. He also conducted choral workshops in the predominantly Mennonite towns of Winkler, Gretna, and Morden, Man. Often criticized by the brethren for an approach to music that was worldly, as distinct from exclusively religious, he nevertheless exerted a significant influence on the development of music among the Mennonites in Manitoba.

In 1949 Konrad assumed ownership and direction of the Bornoff School, changing its name in 1950 to the Konrad Conservatory of Music. During the late 1950s the conservatory had an enrolment of 350 students, half of them in the string department, which, in its day, was the largest in Canada. Group instruction was emphasized, along with private lessons and tri-weekly ensemble practices. Students gained national recognition and won numerous scholarships from the RCMT, the University of Manitoba, and Eaton's Good Deed Club. The school closed shortly after Konrad's death. His pupils included Sergei Bekorvany (Atlantic Symphony Orchestra), Taras Gabora, Eugene Kowalski (Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra), Victoria Polley Richards (TS), Gerald Stanick, Vera Tarnowsky (TS), and George Turnlund (London SO, England).