Eileen Law

Eileen Law. Contralto, teacher, b Belfast 16 Oct 1900, d Toronto 30 Nov 1978; LCAM, ACAM mid-1920s. She studied 1922-6 with Jenny Taggart (voice) and Ernest MacMillan (piano) at the Canadian Academy of Music (earning the above-mentioned diplomas) and privately in 1926 and 1936 with Hope Morgan.

Law, Eileen

Eileen Law. Contralto, teacher, b Belfast 16 Oct 1900, d Toronto 30 Nov 1978; LCAM, ACAM mid-1920s. She studied 1922-6 with Jenny Taggart (voice) and Ernest MacMillan (piano) at the Canadian Academy of Music (earning the above-mentioned diplomas) and privately in 1926 and 1936 with Hope Morgan. She also studied in 1936 with Emmy Heim in Toronto, in 1940 with Pauline Donalda in Montreal, and in 1941 with Louis Bachner in New York.

Law was soloist 1923-36 at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church and 1936-45 at the First Church of Christ Scientist and sang in Toronto performances of Bach's St Matthew Passion for 25 years. During her career Law appeared with the TSO, the Promenade Symphony Concerts, and the Cleveland, Detroit and Minneapolis SOs and the Ottawa Choral Union, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the Apollo Musical Club Choir of Chicago. She was heard many times over the CBC, NBC, and CBS radio networks.

Excelling primarily as an oratorio singer (Messiah, Dream of Gerontius, Elijah, etc), during the early 1930s Law also sang in Canadian Industries Ltd's 'Opera House of the Air' under Reginald Stewart and in 1939 performed the role of Ortrud in Lohengrin given by the Opera Guild of Toronto at Massey Hall. In the late 1930s she was invited to appear with the Vienna State Opera, a debut which was cancelled because of Hitler's invasion of Austria. In February 1942 she was a soloist in Bach's Mass in B Minor, in H.A. Fricker's farewell appearance as conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. In January 1945 she sang with the TSO in the Canadian premiere of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde and in 1946 she was soloist in Beethoven's Missa solemnis at the Montreal Festivals. In that year she also appeared in Verdi's Requiem with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City.

According to the critic Hector Charlesworth she was 'famous not merely for the clarity, breadth and emotional appeal of her tones, but for her mastery of diction and phrasing' (Toronto Globe and Mail). Law was a teacher 1938-77 at the RCMT and 1952-61 at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and gave summer courses at various centres, including Mount St Vincent Academy in Halifax. James Crackokatt, Millard Williams, Mary Alice Rodgers, Constance Newland, and Donna Small were among her pupils.