Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press. British publishing house which opened a Canadian branch in Toronto in 1904. Though the parent firm published music as early as 1659, it did not set up a music department until 1923.

Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press. British publishing house which opened a Canadian branch in Toronto in 1904. Though the parent firm published music as early as 1659, it did not set up a music department until 1923. In the Canadian branch a music department was established in 1939 with Wallace Gillman as manager until 1946. Freda Ferguson succeeded Gillman. Healey Willan was a consultant.

The only publisher in Canada to handle concert music exclusively, the Oxford University Press distributed the parent publisher's catalogue (Rawsthorne, Vaughan Williams, Walton, and others) and published about 100 Canadian works. These included sacred and secular choral music, songs, and works for piano, organ, or small ensemble by Robert Fleming, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Clermont Pépin, Godfrey Ridout, Arnold Walter, Healey Willan, and others. At first printing was done in the USA from plates; after the mid-1950s octavo material was printed on the premises by the multilith process, while larger sizes were handled by commercial printers in the Toronto area.

The department also published Music Bulletin (12 issues, 29 Jan 1941-15 Dec 1942) and (for the CFMTA) A List of Canadian Music (Toronto 1946). When the music department of the Canadian branch closed in 1973, all copyrights to Canadian works were returned to the composers. Responsibility for rental of the staples in the British catalogue was assumed by Boosey & Hawkes.

Three branches of the firm have published books on music by Canadian authors. In 1991, the catalogue included, from Canada, Ulla Colgrass' For the Love of Music (1988) and Harry Rasky's Stratas (1988); from New York, Michael Bawtree's The New Singing Theatre (1991), and Gene Lees' Singers and the Song (1987), Meet Me at Jim and Andy's (1988), and Waiting for Dizzy (1991); and from England, William Kinderman's Beethoven's Diabelli Variations (1989), Steven Huebner's The Operas of Charles Gounod (1990), David P. Schroeder's Haydn and the Enlightenment (1990), Walter Kemp's Burgundian Court Song in the Time of Binchois (1990), and a five-volume work by Bryan N.S. Gooch and David S. Thatcher, A Shakespeare Music Catalogue (1991).


Further Reading

  • 'Oxford University Press. A history of the Canadian branch of the Oxford University Press,' Canadian Library Association Bulletin, vol 9, Jan 1953

    Oxford University Press, Canadian Branch, 1904-1954 (Toronto 1954)

    'Oxford University Press: busy and ambitious,' CanComp, 10, Sep 1966