Gladys Egbert

Gladys (Alma) Egbert (b McKelvie). Piano teacher, b Rapid City, near Brandon, Man, 31 Dec 1896, d Calgary 7 Mar 1968; honorary FRAM 1936, honorary LLD (Alberta) 1965. Her family moved to Calgary in 1903 and she began piano study with Ada Dowling Costigan.

Egbert, Gladys

Gladys (Alma) Egbert (b McKelvie). Piano teacher, b Rapid City, near Brandon, Man, 31 Dec 1896, d Calgary 7 Mar 1968; honorary FRAM 1936, honorary LLD (Alberta) 1965. Her family moved to Calgary in 1903 and she began piano study with Ada Dowling Costigan. In 1909 she was awarded a two-year scholarship to the RAM in London and was the youngest student and the first Canadian ever to receive this award. Although her scholarship was extended for a third year, she did not complete her final year; but instead, after receiving the silver medal in piano and bronze medal in sight-singing, she moved to New York 1911-14 to study with Ignace Paderewski, Sigismond Stojowski, Ernest Hutcheson and Richard Epstein. Her studies with Hutcheson, dean of the Juilliard School, continued intermittently until his death in 1951.

Egbert returned to Calgary in 1914, established a studio, and over the next 50 years dedicated her life to teaching piano and mentoring music students. Her pupils included Carlina Carr, Constance Channon, Jane Coop, Marilyn Engle, Jean Gilbert, Marek Jablonski, Minuetta Schumiatcher Kessler, Leonard Leacock, Diana McIntosh, Alexandra Munn, Linda Lee Thomas, and Irene Weiss Peery. In the 1940s with Mollie Pierce Hamilton and Phyllis Ford, believing in the necessity of a comprehensive system of music instruction, Egbert established the Associated Studios of Music. The same convictions led to her active participation in the founding of the WBM.

In 1936, the Royal Academy of Music granted Egbert a fellowship for her many years of service and contributions. In 1965 she received a honourary doctorate of laws from the University of Alberta, followed by the Centennial Award from the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Association (CFMTA) in 1967. In 1968, the Rose Bowl was donated to the Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival in memory of Dr Egbert's contributions as a piano teacher, and is awarded each year to the most outstanding performer at the Calgary Festival. The Dr Gladys McKelvie Egbert Junior High School in Calgary was named in her honour in 1976.


Further Reading

  • Reid, Eva. 'Distinguished citizen,' SatN, 29 Oct 1955