Alfred Kunz

Alfred Leopold Kunz, composer, conductor, administrator (born 26 May 1929 in Neudorf, SK; died 16 January 2019 in Kitchener-Waterloo, ON). Alfred Kunz studied composition and conducting 1949–55 at the RCMT and for several summers in the 1960s with Stockhausen and others in Europe. In 1965 he completed the state examinations in choral conducting at the Musikhochschule in Mainz and was assistant conductor of the Mainz City Opera Theatre. He began teaching in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1955. He organized the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Orchestra and Choir in 1959 and was organist-choirmaster 1959-64 at Mount Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Kunz’s extensive experience as a choral conductor included terms with the Concordia Male and Mixed Choirs (named assistant conductor in 1962 and conductor in 1968), the Germania Male Choir (1963–65), the German-Canadian Choir (second master 1965–68 and first master-of-all-choirs 1968–79 and 1981­–), the Waterloo Regional Police Chorus (1968–86), and the 200-voice regional Music Alive mixed choir (1989–). With the German-Canadian Choir, which was made up of Ontario choristers, he toured Germany four times and organized all-Ontario song festivals with orchestra. He was principal of the Canadian Music Teachers' College in Burlington, Ontario (1965–67), and director of musical activities (e.g., Concert Choir, Stage Band, Concert Band, Little SO) 1965–79 at the University of Waterloo. He also coordinated the revival of the International Sängerfest in Kitchener (1969, 1970).

A prolific composer, emphasizing choral works of medium difficulty, Kunz extended his interest in Gebrauchsmusik from the amateur choral field to the piano and accordion repertoire. He was eclectic in his use of both traditional tonal idioms and contemporary note-cluster and aleatoric effects. His works Fanfares For the Centre, A Time to Celebrate, Canada Song, Abner's Fiddle and Runner's Boogie were included in the Kitchener Sings program of the September 1980 opening ceremonies of Centre in the Square. It can be heard on the souvenir recording A Time to Celebrate (Alfred Kunz AK-001). His orchestral pieces such as the Saskatchewan Suite and Oktoberfest Overture have been successful in Canada.

Kunz was an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. Many of his compositions have been published by Alfred Kunz Music Publications (AKM).

Selected Compositions

Stage

  • The Damask Drum, chamber opera (Hecken). 1961. Ms
  • Moses, ballet. 1965. Ms
  • Let's Make a Carol, play with music (J. Reaney). 1965. Wat 1965, AKM
  • Other stage works, including an operetta, The Watchful Gods (1962) and an opera Ceyx and Alcyone (L. Cummings) (1979). Ms

Writings

  • “Composers' corner: Alfred Kunz,” CanComp, 13, Dec 1966
  • “My most successful work,” CanComp, 25, Jan 1968

Orchestra

  • Several works for orch, including 2 Sinfoniettas (1957, 1961), Five Night Scenes (1971), Concerto for 6 percussion and orch (1973), Piano Concerto (1975), Chamber Symphony - 14 players (1976), Three Pieces for Clarinet and Strings (1977), all manuscript; Overture for Fun (1978, rev 1986, AKM), Classical Arcade (1984, AKM), Spring Into Summer (1984, AKM), Winterlude for Orchestra (1984, rev 1986), and Saturday Night Barn Dance: Boy's Night Out (1988, rev 1989)
  • Also some works for chorus and orch, including 2 oratorios: The Big Land (1967) and The Creation (1972). Both manuscript.
  • Also 15 works for concert band (1964-1987). All AKM

Chamber

  • Many works, including Sonata (1958, violin, piano), Emanation No. 1 and 2 (1964, various instr), Fun for Two (1964, 2 bassoon or 2 bass clarinet), Love, Death and Fullmoonnights (1964, voice, chamber ensemble), Quintet (1964, woodwind quintet), Three Fanfares (1964, brass, percussion),.all manuscript; and Canzona for Brass and Percussion (1982, AKM)

Keyboard

  • Five Excursions. 1964. Pf. Ms
  • Three Excursions. 1964. Org. Ms
  • Music to Do Things by, vols 1 and 2. 1965, 1969. Pf. Wat 1969
  • Also works for accordion solo, and various works for accordion orch (1963-7), published Wat

Choir and Voice

  • Many works for choir, with piano, unaccompanied, or with instrument ensemble, including Will You Come? (1960), Contrasts (1966), Eight Impressions on Japanese Haiku Ideas (1969), 3 Pieces for Male Chorus (1972), Book of Diverse Songs, Sounds and Thoughts (1976), Abner's Fiddle (1977), Creator, Spirit (1977), Gentle Love Does Fill My Mind published Wat; Sketches of Waterloo County (1974) published GVT; and Canada Song (1980), A Time to Celebrate (1980), Runner's Boogie (1981), Four Poems of W.W.E. Ross (1982), Gloria (1982), Sing Unto the Lord (1987) and several others, published AKM

Also 18 songs for voice and piano (1960).


Further Reading

  • John Beckwith and Keith MacMillan, Contemporary Canadian Composers (1975).