World Music Week/Semaine mondiale de la musique

World Music Week/Semaine mondiale de la musique. Biennial congress begun in 1975 and held under the aegis of the International Music Council.

World Music Week/Semaine mondiale de la musique

World Music Week/Semaine mondiale de la musique. Biennial congress begun in 1975 and held under the aegis of the International Music Council. Canada was host to the inaugural congress, 29 Sep to 5 Oct 1975, and for it the schedule of events was organized by the Canadian Music Council under the direction of John Roberts, then president of the council. The purpose of the week was to foster a constructive exchange among musicians of five continents. Nearly 500 delegates from 50 countries attended. The activities took place in turn in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City. Prior to the week itself a meeting of the executive committee of the International Music Council was held in Calgary, and the council's 16th general assembly took place in Toronto, as did the International Exhibition of Music for Broadcasting, organized jointly by the CBC and the International Music Centre, Vienna.

World Music Week's opening event, at the St Lawrence Centre in Toronto, was highlighted by the premiere of the film Musicanada, produced by Malca Gilson and Tony Ianzelo of the NFB and depicting the musical life of the country, and by a concert of works by the Toronto composers Aitken, Beecroft, Freedman, Gellman, and Weinzweig. Discussions on the theme 'Music as a dimension of life' continued for five days in a series of workshops which dealt individually with the roles of the media, the music of young people, the world soundscape, music and tomorrow's public, the role of the composer in a changing world, the role of the performer and the democratization of music, and the preservation and presentation of traditional music and dance. Another important feature was International Music Day (1 October), during which Yehudi Menuhin gave a recital (his program included Somers' Music for Solo Violin) and International Music Council prizes were awarded to Ravi Shankar, to Menuhin, and - posthumously - to Dmitri Shostakovich.

World Music Week played a considerable role in making the public more aware of Canadian music and its performers. Between the 16th general meeting (23 September) and the concluding event (5 October) many recitals and concerts were given by Canadian artists and groups, including Robert Aitken, Émilien Allard, Edith Butler, Maureen Forrester, Félix Leclerc, Phyllis Mailing, Hugh McLean, John Mills-Cockell, Alexandre Zelkine, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Festival Singers, the COC, the SMCQ Ensemble, the Lyric Arts Trio, the Orford String Quartet, the Quebec Woodwind Quintet, the CBC orchestras of Montreal and Ottawa, the NACO, the MSO, and the TS, and the 'Ksan Dancers in their presentation 'The spirit of our ancestors.' The public had occasion to hear works by Beckwith, Fleming, Forsyth, Glick, Healey, Morel, Papineau-Couture, Saint-Marcoux, Schafer (Lustro), Somers (Louis Riel), Tremblay, Turner, Vivier, and Willan in addition to those mentioned above. Among the works commissioned by the CBC for the occasion were ... chant d'amours by Garant, Icons by Hambraeus, and Ouverture by Prévost. Compositions by Tadeusz Baird, Luis de Pablo, Cristóbal Halffter, and Stockhausen also were heard. Among foreign artists who participated were the dancers and musicians of the national theatre of Burma. The concerts, several of which were televised by the CBC and relayed abroad by RCI, took place mostly at the St Lawrence Centre in Toronto, at the NAC, in McGill University's Pollack Hall, at the PDA, and at the Grand Théâtre in Quebec City. There were several public lectures and exhibitions, and honorary degrees were conferred by the University of Ottawa on Yehudi Menuhin, Harry Somers, Jean Vallerand, and Trân Van Khê.

World Music Week was financed primarily through subsidies from Canada's Dept of the Secretary of State and Dept of External Affairs, the CBC, the Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec governments, and the Canada Council. The council also set aside a special amount for the publication of a full report of the activities in the Canada Music Book (double issue 11-12, 1975-6).


Further Reading

  • Gyokeres, Nancy. 'Representatives from 50 countries listen to Canadian music,' MSc, 287, Jan-Feb 1976