Howard Cable | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Howard Cable

Howard (Reid) Cable, conductor, arranger, composer (born 15 December 1920 in Toronto, ON; died 30 March 2016 in Toronto).

Howard (Reid) Cable, conductor, arranger, composer (born 15 December 1920 in Toronto, ON; died 30 March 2016 in Toronto). Cable studied at the Toronto (now Royal) Conservatory of Music, where his teachers included Sir Ernest MACMILLAN, Ettore Mazzoleni and Healey WILLAN, completing a degree in 1939. He continued his studies in composition with John WEINZWEIG. His early years were spent in radio, in 1936 at CFRB Toronto as a scriptwriter, and in 1941, replacing Percy FAITH on CBC Radio. His duties also included the composition of incidental music for radio dramas. He arranged and conducted music for such CBC shows as Music by Cable, Canadian Cavalcade, Jolly Miller Time and The Canadian General Electric Hour. In the 1950s, the Cable Concert Band Series was heard in the US over the Mutual and ABC Radio Networks. On television, he was music director and arranger for the popular variety program Showtime (1954-59).

Cable was one of Canada's most versatile musicians. In addition to his work on radio and television, his career encompassed conducting, arranging and composing for the stage, as well as for instrumentalists, choruses and singers.

In the 1960s, he worked in New York City as a studio conductor. On Broadway, he arranged for Richard Rogers and Meredith Willson. He conducted for Robert GOULET, Victor Borge, Danny Kaye, Bob Hope, Marlene Dietrich, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennet and Ella Fitzgerald. He was executive producer of on-site entertainment at Expo '67 in Montréal, head of the Musical Theatre department at the BANFF CENTRE (1975-86), and music director of Toronto's Royal York Hotel (1974-86).

In the 1980s, Cable expanded his career to include frequent appearances as guest conductor of symphony orchestras across Canada: in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Ont, Halifax and elsewhere. Renowned as an arranger, he was commissioned by the CANADIAN BRASS, the Elmer Iseler Singers, the TORONTO MENDELSSOHN CHOIR, the Toronto Children's Chorus, SHARON, LOIS + BRAM and True North Brass.

His compositions include incidental music for CBC radio and TV, film scores for the National Film Board (1946-56), and many original works for orchestra, band, choir and brass ensembles. Canadian folk music was a frequent source of inspiration, notably in Newfoundland Rhapsody (1956, Chappell), Sing, Sea to Sea (1979, Thompson, recorded by the Toronto Children's Chorus on the Centrediscs label), and Ontario Pictures for band (1991, Northdale). His musical Mary, Queen of Scotts, with book by Christopher Gore, was produced by the Charlottetown Festival in 1971 and 1972. He wrote an oratorio for children, Your Work with Love Surrounds You (book by Peggy Feltmate, 1973, Boston Music) and a musical for junior grades, Rana's Pond (book by Feltmate, 1990, Thompson).

Cable served as president of the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada (CAPAC), an associate composer of the CANADIAN MUSIC CENTRE, and a member of SOCAN.

Donate to The Canadian Encyclopedia this Giving Tuesday!

A donation to The Canadian Encyclopedia today will have an even greater impact due to a generous matching gift from an anonymous donor. Starting November 28 until December 5, 2023, all donations will be matched up to $10,000! All donations above $3 will receive a tax receipt. Thank you for your support of The Canadian Encyclopedia, a project of Historica Canada.