First Symposium of Canadian Contemporary Music
First Symposium of Canadian Contemporary Music. Held in Vancouver 12-15 Mar 1950 at the Hotel Vancouver and the Denman Auditorium under the sponsorship of the Vancouver Symphony Society and the Community Arts Council of Vancouver. The purposes were 'to play, listen to, discuss, discover and stimulate greater interest in Canadian composers and their music' (Jacques Singer in program brochure). Singer was the initiator and music director of the symposium. Alex Walton, chairman of the symposium, moderated a panel discussion in which Harry Adaskin, Barbara Pentland, Singer, and John Weinzweig participated. Four programs (one each for symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, small chamber ensemble, and choir) presented works of 33 composers in the largest festival of Canadian music prior to that at Expo 67. These had been chosen from 155 submissions. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performed the symphonic works. The festival featured music from all regions of Canada and from all ranks of composers, from the established (Willan and Whitehead) to the very young (Pépin and Somers), from the conservative (Edwin A. Collins, Charles O'Neill) to those who then were considered avant-garde (Pentland, Weinzweig). The symposium ushered in a decade marked by many special concerts devoted to Canadian music.