Edward Fisher

Edward Fisher. Administrator, organist, conductor, teacher, b Jamaica, Vt, 11 Jan 1848, d Toronto 31 May 1913; honorary D MUS (Trinity College, Toronto) 1898.

Fisher, Edward

Edward Fisher. Administrator, organist, conductor, teacher, b Jamaica, Vt, 11 Jan 1848, d Toronto 31 May 1913; honorary D MUS (Trinity College, Toronto) 1898. In 1867, after musical training in Worcester, Mass, Fisher entered the New England Cons, Boston, where he studied with Julius Eichberg (counterpoint and harmony), the Canadian Joseph B. Sharland (piano), and Eugene Thayer (organ). Fisher at different times was organist at Second Unitarian Church and Phillip's Church, Boston, and Elliot Church, Newton, and was the pianist for the Boston Choral Union and the Newton Musical Association. In 1874 he studied in Berlin with C.A. Haupt (organ) and Albert Loeschhorn (piano) and in 1875 he moved to Canada as music director of the Ottawa Ladies' College. In Ottawa he gave several organ recitals and conducted the Ottawa Choral Society.

Moving to Toronto, where he served 1879-99 as organist at St Andrew's Church, Fisher expanded the St Andrew's Choral Society into the 150 to 400-member Toronto Choral Society. Under his direction 1879-91 the society presented such works as Handel's Samson, Messiah, and Israel in Egypt; Haydn's The Creation and The Seasons (first part); Mendelssohn's St Paul, Lauda Sion, and Psalm 95; Rossini's Stabat mater; Gounod's Gallia; Hiller's Song of Victory; Costa's The Dream; Gade's Psyche; and Schumann's Paradise and the Peri. Fisher was music director for several years of the Ontario Ladies' College, Whitby, but his greatest achievement was the founding of the TCM (now RCMT), which he directed from 1887 to 1913 and where he also taught. Fisher was regarded as courteous, upright, and a shrewd judge of both artistic and business matters. Writing in The Toronto Daily Star (21 Mar 1936) critic Augustus Bridle said of Fisher that his 'regime of success in music made him, in a smaller way, what Timothy Eaton was to merchandise in Canada'. Fisher's pupils included Mona Bates, Sara Dallas, Eleanor Dallas, Rena Chadwicke, W.O. Forsyth, and J.D.A. Tripp. Only two of his compositions are known to be extant: 'Night Hymn at Sea' (Nordheimer 1876) and a Rondo Caprice, Opus 6, for piano. Fisher was a co-founder (1885) of the Ontario Music Teachers' Association (later Canadian Society of Musicians) and was president 1889-90. He was Ontario vice-president (1887) of the Music Teachers' National Association.


Further Reading

  • 'Edward Fisher,' MCour, vol 15, 3 Aug 1887

    'Music in Canada,' MCour, vol 37, 2 Nov 1898

    'Dr Edward Fisher,' MCan, vol 2, 1907

    Harrison, Mrs J.W.F. 'An educationalist in music,' Canadian Magazine, Jun 1909

    'The late Edward Fisher, MUS.D.,' MCan, vol 8, Jul 1913

    Jones, Gaynor. 'The Fisher years: the Toronto Conservatory of Music, 1886-1913,' Three Studies, CanMus Documents 4 (Toronto 1989)