Arthur Elwell Fisher

Arthur Elwell Fisher. Educator, composer, organist, violist, b England 29 May 1848, d probably in the USA after 1912; B MUS (Trinity, Toronto) ca 1887, ATCL 1889, ACO (Associate, College of Organists, England) 1889.

Fisher, Arthur Elwell

Arthur Elwell Fisher. Educator, composer, organist, violist, b England 29 May 1848, d probably in the USA after 1912; B MUS (Trinity, Toronto) ca 1887, ATCL 1889, ACO (Associate, College of Organists, England) 1889. He studied violin at the Paris Cons and with Henry Holmes in London and was an organist in Liverpool before emigrating to Canada. He lived first in Montreal, where he was the organist 1879-82 at St George's Church. In 1882 or 1886 he moved to Toronto, where he taught piano, violin, voice, and theory 1887-93 at theTCM and the Toronto College of Music, played viola in the Toronto String Quartette, and held church positions. He advocated the holding of local examinations in Ontario and the West and in 1887 became the TCM's first travelling examiner. He founded the St Cecilia Choral Society of Toronto to encourage unaccompanied singing and contributed many editorials and compositions to the Musical Journal (Toronto 1887-90). In 1893 Fisher resigned from the TCM because of a disagreement over the terms of his appointment. In 1896 he became a music examiner for the University of Toronto and music director of the Ladies' College in Kingston. He later taught at the Chicago Cons.

Fisher wrote about 100 songs and piano, violin, and choral pieces, published in Canada by Suckling, in England by Ashdown, Curwen, and Novello, and in the USA by Century, Ditson, G. Schirmer, and Summy. His larger works include a String Trio in G, Opus 54, a Rhapsody for violin and orchestra, a Thanksgiving (or Harvest) Cantata intended as a doctoral exercise, and The Wreck of the Hesperus, a cantata for female choir and piano, premiered in 1893 and rescored for mixed choir and orchestra for the opening festival of Massey Music Hall (Massey Hall) in 1894. A song - 'Life,' with words by E. Pauline Johnson - was published in the Musical Journal 15 Jul 1887. Hector Charlesworth considered Fisher 'a man of profound learning, though still under the shadow of the cathedral, like most English musicians of the eighties'. He also found him 'most progressive' but 'extremely tactless'.


Further Reading

  • Pazdirek, B. 'Arthur E. Fischer' (sic), Universal-Handbuch der Musikliteratur (Vienna 1904-10)

    Charlesworth, Hector. Candid Chronicles (Toronto 1925)

    Collins, Alice Roger. 'Preface,' Real People, vol 5 (London, Ont [1936])

    Metropolitan Toronto Library. A.E. Fisher scrapbook