Alan Reesor | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Alan Reesor

Frederick Alan Edwin Reesor, teacher, organist, conductor, composer (born 14 June 1936 in Markham, ON; died 9 March 2022 In Charlottetown, PEI). B MUS (Toronto) 1957, M MUS (ESM, Rochester) 1965. Alan Reesor studied piano with Gertrude Jackson and organ with Wilfred Powell, John McIntosh, Norman Peterson, and H. William Hawke. Beginning his teaching career in Oshawa, Ontario, he spent 11 years building a successful high school orchestra and band program, while serving as organist and choirmaster at St George's Anglican Church.

Early Career

Moving to Charlottetown in 1970, he served as chairman of the Department of Music, University of Prince Edward Island 1970-76, interim chairman 1978-79 and 1985-56, and chairman again in 1990. In 1997 he retired from the university and was named professor emeritus in 1998. Conductor of the university's choirs until 1973, he also conducted the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra 1970-6 and was guest conductor in 1982. Since 1971 he has served as organist-choirmaster of St Peter's Anglican Cathedral, where he established a summer organ recital series that has run since 1980. In 1981 the University of King's College, Halifax, made him an honorary Doctor of Canon Law.

Recitals and Recordings

Reesor performed and broadcast Canadian music of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries on historic mechanical action pipe organs in Prince Edward Island. These broadcasts were made into the CBC recording entitled Canadian Organ Music: Historic Organs of Prince Edward Island in 1991. He gave recitals across Canada, the US, and Europe. In 1999, he was an invited recitalist for the Organ Historical Society at Saint-François-du-Lac, Que, performing Canadian organ music. His compositions include Variations on a Theme for string orchestra (1963), Two Christmas Pieces for Organ (Thompson 1968), Evening Canticles'Collegium Regale' (St Peter), Prelude on the Passion Chorale in'Te Deum Laudamus' (Royal Canadian College of Organists 2004), as well as music for the Ukrainian-Canadian film The Cruel Dawn (1967).

Royal Canadian College of Organists

Reesor was frequently consulted because of his wide knowledge of organ design and construction. Having first joined the Royal Canadian College of Organists as a teenager, he examined for the college and was made an honorary Fellow in 1996. In 2004, he was installed as its national president.