T.J. Crawford

T.J. (Thomas James) Crawford. Organist, choirmaster, teacher, composer, b Barrhead, Scotland, 11 Jun 1877, naturalized Canadian 1928, d after a car accident near Barrie, Ont, 5 Jul 1955; ARCO 1892, FRCO 1902, B MUS (Durham) 1902. He studied organ and theory in Glasgow with H.

Crawford, T.J.

T.J. (Thomas James) Crawford. Organist, choirmaster, teacher, composer, b Barrhead, Scotland, 11 Jun 1877, naturalized Canadian 1928, d after a car accident near Barrie, Ont, 5 Jul 1955; ARCO 1892, FRCO 1902, B MUS (Durham) 1902. He studied organ and theory in Glasgow with H. Sandiford Turner and Otto Schweitzer, and in 1894 in Leipzig with Carl Reinecke and Paul Homeyer. Later in life he fondly recalled having seen Brahms at the Leipzig Cons. While Crawford was in Leipzig he was organist at All Saints (Anglo-American) Church. He also was successful there as a composer; his Lipsia Suite for orchestra was performed under Reinecke (and later under Sir August Manns at the Crystal Palace in London). Returning to London in 1898, Crawford assisted Sir Frederick Bridge for seven years at Westminster Abbey. In 1911 he became the organist-choirmaster of St Michael's Church, Chester Square, London. In December 1922 he moved to Toronto to take up posts as organist at St Paul's Bloor St Anglican Church and teacher at the TCM. He conducted the Eaton Choral Society 1925-31, transforming the group in 1931 into the Eaton Operatic Society, and continuing as music director until 1947. Crawford also conducted 1927-42 the Victoria College Music Club, University of Toronto. He was organist-choirmaster in 1932 at Holy Trinity Church and 1933-46 at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church. Retiring in 1946, he continued to travel as an examiner for the RCMT and produced a book, Keyboard Harmony and Transposition (Toronto 1952, 1966). His last position was at St Andrew's Church, Barrie, in 1954.

Among Crawford's numerous works (listed in the Catalogue of Canadian Composers) a Toccata in F (Bosworth 1904) and In a Great Cathedral (Western Music 1951), both for organ, continue to be performed. A Piano Trio and a Scottish Suite for strings date from his Leipzig days. Variations on an Original Theme, for orchestra, dates from his early Toronto years. Bosworth has published excerpts from Crawford's children's operettas, Dot's Dream and Vi's Christmas Party. Manuscripts of some of Crawford's scores are preserved among the Gerald Bales papers at the National Library of Canada.