Music at University of Saskatchewan

The music program has been directed by Arthur Collingwood, dean 1931-47; J.D. Macrae, chairman 1947-51; Murray Adaskin, head 1952- 66; David L. Kaplan, head 1966-82; Dwaine Nelson, head 1982-4; Richard W.


University of Saskatchewan

 University of Saskatchewan. Non-denominational graduate and undergraduate institution founded in Saskatoon in 1907. It awarded its first degrees in 1912. Founded in 1931, the Music Dept (the first in western Canada) became the College of Music in 1936. Restructured as the Dept of Music in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1952, it enrolled its first graduate student (for the M ED in music) in 1962. Revised B MUS and B MUS ED programs were inaugurated in 1969, along with BA and B ED programs in music. The MA in music was added in 1978, the M MUS in 1988. In 1989-90 it also offered a PH D. In 1975 the department occupied new quarters.

The music program has been directed by Arthur Collingwood, dean 1931-47; J.D. Macrae, chairman 1947-51; Murray Adaskin, head 1952- 66; David L. Kaplan, head 1966-82; Dwaine Nelson, head 1982-4; Richard W. Wedgewood, head 1984-9; Robert Calder, acting head 1989-90; and Lawrence House, appointed head in 1990. Adaskin was composer-in-residence 1966-72.

Marjorie Wilson (B MUS 1934) was the department's first graduate; others in the 1930s were Margaret Pippin and Reginald McFarland, who became a member of the faculty. Lavinia Elsley Collard received the first Associate in Music diploma. Other graduates have included Norman Burgess, dean of the Mount Royal College Cons, Calgary; Paul Pedersen; and Glenn Thamer, consultant in fine arts, province of Alberta. Jean Papineau-Couture received an honorary LLD in 1967, as did Lyell Gustin in 1969 and Murray Adaskin in 1984.

In 1989-90 there were 144 students (130 undergraduate and 14 graduate) and 39 teachers (14 full-time and 25 part-time). That year the degrees offered were B MUS (theory; composition; history; performance), B MUS ED (elementary; secondary), BA (honours; advanced or general), B ED (elementary), M ED (music education), MA (theory; composition; history), M MUS (performance; theory and composition; history and literature); and PH D (ethnomusicology; arts and culture).

Among the faculty members in 1990-1 were Edward Bisha and Robert Klose (who had been members of the Amati String Quartet and, with the pianist Robin Harrison, had formed the Canadian Arts Trio), Isabelle Mills (music educator and conductor of the university's Quance Chorus), Marvin Eckroth (band director), Robert Solem (choir conductor and director of the Greystone Singers), Dorothy Howard (voice teacher and director of the Music Theatre), David Kaplan (music history), and Margaret Zank (electronic and computer music).

In addition to summer sessions, begun in 1960, and intersession credit courses, the department offers a variety of non-credit courses through the university's Division of Extension and Community Relations.

In 1959, to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the University of Saskatchewan at Saskatoon, Adaskin organized a festival offering performances of 80 works, from solo compositions to pieces for large orchestra, half of them composed during the 20th century, 28 of them directly contemporary and being heard in their world, North American, or Canadian premieres, and 10 of them commissioned for the festival. He engaged 21 US and Canadian musicians to perform and teach and set up a related six-week course for 80 young instrumental players. The large budget was met through support from Saskatoon musical and service organizations, private donations, and other outside sources, including the Canada Council. While the festival was too costly to repeat annually in the university context, it probably was the first event of its kind and scope to be held at a Canadian university, and its influence was inestimable.

In 1987 the department sponsored the International Buxtehude-Scheidt Festival and Conference to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Scheidt and the 350th of Dietrich Buxtehude. The conference proceedings have been published (Isabelle Mills and Walter Kreyszig, eds, Dietrich Buxtehude and Samuel Scheidt: An Anniversary Tribute, Saskatoon 1988).

The department has been the recipient of the Carnegie (in the 1950s) and Andrusyshen collections of recordings and of the Saskatoon Collection of Early Manuscripts. Its quartet of Amati string instruments was purchased from Stephen Kolbinson in 1959 (see Instrument collections). It also has a growing collection of early instruments.

The dept sponsors a concert series in addition to faculty and student recitals. Intramural performing groups include the University Chorus, the Concert Band, the Corelli Strings (a string orchestra), the Collegium Musicum (Saskatoon), the Jazz Band, the University Women's Chorus, the Music Theatre, and various brass and woodwind ensembles. The Wind Orchestra and Greystone Singers have had national and international tours.


Further Reading

  • Kasemets, Udo. 'The Saskatoon summer festival of music, 1959,' CMJ, vol 4, Autumn 1959

    'University of Saskatchewan names Adaskin to new post,' CanComp, 13, Dec 1966

    Adaskin, Murray. 'University of Saskatchewan to sponsor exhibition-concerts,' ibid

    Burt, Eric O. 'Greystone Singers' bonds last a lifetime,' Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 28 Oct 1983

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