CBC Winnipeg Orchestra | The Canadian Encyclopedia


CBC Winnipeg Orchestra

CBC Winnipeg Orchestra. Radio orchestra active 1947-84.

CBC Winnipeg Orchestra

CBC Winnipeg Orchestra. Radio orchestra active 1947-84. Preceded by a CBC concert orchestra conducted by Geoffrey Waddington in 1940 and a succession of string orchestras conducted by Martin Fleisher ca 1940, Albert Pratz 1941-3, Eugene Hudson 1943-4, Marius Benoist 1943-5, Roy Locksley and Ronald Gibson in 1946, and Percy Harvey 1946-7, the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra became a permanent ensemble under Eric Wild in 1947. When Wild retired in 1974 the orchestra was conducted for a year by its concertmaster, Arthur Polson. Boris Brott was its last conductor, 1975-84.

The orchestra was heard regularly 1947-84 on CBC radio. It was contracted for a 13-week or 26-week series, and its programming varied according to the various CBC program directors' wishes and in relation to the production of CBC orchestras in other centres. In the summer of 1962, the orchestra was the main participant in the live public concerts of the CBC Winnipeg Festival, which was the first of many similar CBC festivals held in Winnipeg and elsewhere across Canada thereafter. The Winnipeg festivals were held first at the University of Manitoba Summer School and later at the Basilica in St Boniface, at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall, and elsewhere.

Among guest performers with the orchestra were William Aide, Evelyne Anderson, Garth Beckett and Boyd McDonald, Clarice Carson, Anna Chornodolska, Chester Duncan (with whom it gave the North American premieres of Gordon Jacob's Concerto No. 2 and George Dyson's Concerto Leggiero), Janina Fialkowska, Alexander Gray, Elizabeth Benson Guy, Diedre Irons, Lois Marshall, Joan Maxwell, Diana McIntosh, Sylvia Saurette, Robert Silverman, Marie-Josée Simard, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Bernard Turgeon, Ronald Turini, and the Choristers. Guest conductors included Aaron Copland, Victor Feldbrill, Ruben Gurevich, Harman Haakman, Pierre Hétu, and Sir Ernest MacMillan. Concertmasters of the orchestras prior to 1947 were Valberg Leland 1937-9, Joseph Sera 1939-40, Albert Pratz 1940-2, and Richard Seaborn 1942-7. Seaborn continued under Wild until 1957. Marta Hidy succeeded Seaborn in 1957, and Arthur Polson was the orchestra's last concertmaster, 1966-84.

The repertoire centred on standard light classics scored for medium-sized orchestra (some 50 players) and also contained many contemporary Canadian works. The orchestra premiered compositions by Adaskin, Archer, Davies, Fiala, George, Keetbaas, Mann, Naylor, Prévost and Zuckert. It also participated in the recording of selections from Lavallée's comic opera The Widow. Tom Taylor succeeded Norman Lucas as producer of the majority of the orchestra's concerts from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Taylor was followed in the 1970s by Harold Redekopp, Leslie Uyeda, and Randy Barnard. The orchestra gave its final broadcast on 13 Mar 1984. The orchestra's popular Candlelight Concerts broadcasts were continued by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

Further Reading