Jean Chalmers

Jean (Alberta) Chalmers (b Boxall). Music patron, b Toronto 18 Aug 1899, d Toronto 8 Oct 1990.

Chalmers, Jean

Jean (Alberta) Chalmers (b Boxall). Music patron, b Toronto 18 Aug 1899, d Toronto 8 Oct 1990. Following her marriage to journalist (later publisher and philanthropist) Floyd Chalmers in 1921, Jean Chalmers promoted the Promenade Symphony Concerts in the 1930s and the Five O'Clocks, a late 1940s Royal Conservatory of Music chamber music series. Although not a musician, she continued to support and promote musical activities; in 1945 she formed the Conservatory Opera and Concert Committee, which led to the formation of the Canadian Opera Company's (COC) first women's committee. She was a trustee of the Floyd S. Chalmers Foundation, initiated in 1964. Jean and Floyd Chalmers and their children, Wallace and Joan, acted as its directors.

In 1965 she established the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Opera, given annually to the most promising young member of the COC in performance or production. Beginning in 1983 the proceeds from the funds that established this award have been used to support the activities of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble. In 1984 Jean and Floyd Chalmers donated the $1 million that established the Jean A. Chalmers Chair in Canadian Music and the Institute for Canadian Music at the University of Toronto. The first Jean A. Chalmers professor was John Beckwith.

Jean Chalmers was also a benefactor to organizations such as the Toronto Symphony and other arts groups.

Winners of the Jean A. Chalmers National Music Award included Robert Aitken, Mario Bernardi, Lawrence Cherney, Andrew Dawes, the Esprit Orchestra, Christos Hatzis, Ben Heppner, Peter Paul Koprowski, and Piano Six. Winners of the Jean A. Chalmers Awards for Musical Composition included Paul Dolden, Alexina Louie, Chan Ka Nin, and James Tenney.

Further Reading

  • "Patron of the arts founded music institute," Globe and Mail, 9 Oct 1990

    'Patron saint (Joan Chalmers has become Toronto's most powerful patron),' Toronto Life, Jan 1995