George Brough, pianist, organist, harpsichordist, opera coach (born 25 February 1918 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England; died 15 September 2015 in Toronto, ON). George Brough was widely recognized as one of Canada's most skilful, reliable and versatile accompanists. Able to sight-read with tremendous proficiency, he provided secure support for hundreds of performers, from students in competitions to professional artists such as Heinz Holliger, Gervase de Peyer, Henri Temianka, Bernard Turgeon and Jon Vickers. He was an assistant conductor and accompanist with the Canadian Opera Company, an organist with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and taught at the Banff Centre for the Arts and the University of Toronto.
Education and Early Career
Brough attended the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music) from 1937 to 1940, studying piano with Kendall Taylor and organ with George Thalben-Ball. He earned his ARCM in 1938, his FRCO in 1938, his LRAM in 1943 and a degree in music from Oxford in 1943. In 1945 he moved to Halifax, where he was organist-choirmaster at All Saints Cathedral and taught at the Halifax Conservatory (now the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts). He became an examiner for the RCM in 1947 and first worked with the CBC Opera Company in 1949, later acting as coach and assistant conductor.
As soloist with orchestra he was heard in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the CBC Symphony Orchestra on 31 January 1955. He also worked at the Vancouver International Festival (1958–61) and, beginning in 1965, as accompanist and opera coach for 41 summers at the Banff School of Fine Arts (now the Banff Centre for the Arts). He was assistant conductor and accompanist with the Canadian Opera Company (1958–66) and opera coach at the University of Toronto (1972–83); he continued to teach at the latter on a part-time basis into the 1990s.
He was an organist with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and harpsichordist with the Chamber Players of Toronto. A member of the organ committee of Roy Thomson Hall, he was one of five organists who performed on the Gabriel Kney instrument on 17 September 1982, during the hall's inaugural week of concerts.