Kenneth Bray

Kenneth (Ira) Bray. Educator, bassoonist, arranger, b Chaffey Township (Muskoka), Ont, 24 Feb 1919, d London, Ont, 25 Jun 1999; B MUS (Toronto) 1949, M MUS (ESM, Rochester) 1957.

Bray, Kenneth

Kenneth (Ira) Bray. Educator, bassoonist, arranger, b Chaffey Township (Muskoka), Ont, 24 Feb 1919, d London, Ont, 25 Jun 1999; B MUS (Toronto) 1949, M MUS (ESM, Rochester) 1957. Bray studied piano from age five and tuba in high school, before becoming a rural music supervisor 1938-40 in Muskoka District (Ont) schools. For the RCAF 1940-6 he was an arranger and tuba player and toured Great Britain as a duo-pianist with Neil Chotem. He studied bassoon in university. He taught 1950-7 and was head of the music department 1957-61 at Riverdale Collegiate Institute, Toronto. He was appointed head of the music department at the Ontario College of Education, Toronto, in 1961, with a cross-appointment at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.

Bray taught summer courses and served on music curriculum review committees for the Ontario Ministry of Education prior to his appointment in 1969 to the Faculty of Music, University of Western Ontario. There he taught theory, orchestration, aural training, and bassoon until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1984. He was a founding member of the London Festival Brass and the London Woodwind Quintet and also played bassoon 1969-75 and, thereafter on a casual basis, with the London Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra London Canada).

He was president of the OMEA 1959-60 and of the CMEA 1973-7, and edited The Canadian Music Educator 1963-9. He was chairman of the CAUSM curriculum committee which published Standards in 1969, and was also chairman of the music section of the OISE creative arts committee whose trial curricula, focusing on the Kodály method, culminated in The New Approach to Music (Toronto 1969, 1972). He was president in 1979 of the Kodály Institute of Canada.

As an extension of his career as educator, Bray adjudicated at festivals across Canada. He was also active as an arranger. Many of his arrangements for band, orchestra, and choir were published by G.V. Thompson, Leeds, Waterloo Music Co, and Frederick Harris Music Co Ltd. In addition to various commissions, he wrote arrangements for Songs of Work and Freedom (Roosevelt University Press, 1960; reprinted as Songs of Work and Protest, Dover 1973) and Reflections of Canada (3 vols, Frederick Harris 1985-7). He also co-authored the influential school textbook (with D. Bruce Snell) For Young Musicians (2 vols, Waterloo 1961, 1967, rev ed 1995), Music for Young Canada (8 vols, Gage 1967-9), and (with J. Paul Green) Solos for Schools (10 vols, G.V. Thompson 1978-81). Bray's arrangements of 'O Canada' became standards for school bands. Several of his arrangements and transcriptions for brass and woodwinds were published in 1996-97 by Eighth Note Publications (Markham, Ont). Bray led the University of Western Ontario's Convocation Brass at each spring convocation from 1982 to his death. A recording was released in 1999 of his compositions for the annual convocation. In his later years, he also composed music for the choirs of London, Ont's First-St. Andrew's United Church, and was principal bassoon with Gerald Fagan's Concert Players Orchestra until 1998.

Writings

'A Canadian adaptation of Kodály's music education principles,' CAUSM J, vol 1, Spring 1971

'The arts in education (a need or a luxury),' Recorder, vol 19, Jun 1977

'Donald F. Cook: a distorted view from the mainland,' CME, vol 19, Fall 1977


Further Reading

  • Susanne L. Thomas, Kenneth I. Bray: His contribution to music education. Thesis. University of Western Ontario, 1997

    'Esteemed music educator Kenneth Bray dies,' Ensemble, Winter 1999