Ifan Williams

Williams, Ifan (1889-11957). Violinist, teacher, conductor, b Carmarthen, Wales, November 1889, naturalized Canadian, d London September 1957; FRAM 1940. He studied at the RAM and was principal violin of its quartet and orchestra.

Williams, Ifan

Williams, Ifan (1889-11957). Violinist, teacher, conductor, b Carmarthen, Wales, November 1889, naturalized Canadian, d London September 1957; FRAM 1940. He studied at the RAM and was principal violin of its quartet and orchestra. He won numerous prizes and scholarships for violin and chamber music and for several years was a member of the London SO, the Opera Orchestra (presumably Covent Garden), and the Blagrove String Quartette and gave many solo recitals in London and in the provinces. He arrived in Canada in 1920 and was director of the string department, and director 1934-57, of the Halifax Conservatory (see Maritime Cons). He taught several instruments there and made the conservatory orchestra into a competent ensemble which actively contributed to the local music scene. He founded the Halifax Choral Union (later Halifax Choral Society) in 1922 and the Ifan Williams String Quartette in 1930. In 1935 he was one of the main organizers of the first Halifax music competition festival. On 13 Jul 1949 he conducted the premiere of Trevor Morgan Jones' Symphony to Halifax - to a text by Mrs A.G. Baird. The work was composed for the city's bicentenary and dedicated 'to Ifan Williams and the Halifax Choral Union.' During these years, recognizing the need to provide a future supply of musicians for the province, he made pioneering efforts to establish in the Halifax public schools a concert band and an orchestra; these achieved reality only after his time.

His son Ifan, cellist and teacher (b Halifax 10 Jul 1945), first studied 1958-64 with Edward Bisha and was a member 1961-2 of the NYO. He continued his studies 1964-6 at the Manhattan School of Music, New York, before moving to England where he was a member of the Bournemouth SO in 1967, the New Philharmonia of London in 1968, and the London SO in 1969. After his return to Canada in 1970 he was principal cello with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, and the Startford Ensemble, as well as artist-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick. He also was a member of the Classical Quartet of Montreal and of Musica Camerata Montreal.