Francis Chaplin

Francis (Eugene) Chaplin. Violinist, teacher, b Newcastle, NB, 30 Dec 1927, d Brandon, Man, 3 Dec 1993; Artist Diploma (Juilliard) 1950, Graduate Diploma (Juilliard) 1951, honorary D MUS (Mt Allison) 1974.

Chaplin, Francis

Francis (Eugene) Chaplin. Violinist, teacher, b Newcastle, NB, 30 Dec 1927, d Brandon, Man, 3 Dec 1993; Artist Diploma (Juilliard) 1950, Graduate Diploma (Juilliard) 1951, honorary D MUS (Mt Allison) 1974. He studied violin with Hans Graae in Newcastle and with Clayton Hare 1940-5 at Mount Allison Academy in Sackville, NB, and then privately in Calgary. His debut, at age 16 in Toronto, was described as brilliant. He continued at the Juilliard School as a full scholarship student with Louis Persinger 1946-9 and Ivan Galamian 1949-53, and upon graduation received the Morris Loeb Memorial Award. He moved in 1953 to Halifax, where he was concertmaster of the CBC Halifax Orchestra and the Halifax (Atlantic) Symphony Orchestra. Chaplin gave weekly recitals for Halifax CBC radio and later on national CBC TV's Souvenirs and Reflections programs. He was also concerto soloist for CBC national radio. He appeared as recitalist and as soloist with major orchestras in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Quebec City, Hamilton, and Halifax, and at the New York Museum of Modern Art. He was a member of the Halifax (later Brandon University) Trio and the Halifax String Quartet. The trio moved to Brandon University in 1966 and Chaplin began teaching violin and viola there in 1967. He continued as a member of the School of Music until his death. Among his pupils were James Ehnes, Gwen Hoebig, Tom Williams, and other accomplished violinists. Chaplin recorded for the CBC with the Brandon Trio, and with Judy Loman and the Johnny Burt Orchestra (1966, CTLS 5075). Among the works the trio recorded was a string trio by Alexis Contant. In 1984 Chaplin recorded 10 Caprices for Solo Violin by S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté for the Masters of the Bow label (MBS-2018); he also edited an edition of the Caprices (Brandon University School of Music Press, 1993). Chaplin died from smoke inhalation following a house fire. The still-active Brandon Trio had been preparing the commissioned work Firebrand at the time of his death. The Gryphon Trio subsequently took over the commission. A new Brandon Trio has since been formed to honour the original Chaplin group.


Further Reading

  • Nelson, Diane. 'The master,' Brandon Sun, 25 May 91

    Coops, Patrick. 'Fire kills acclaimed BU professor,' Brandon Sun, 4 Dec 93