Leslie Holmes

Leslie Holmes. Baritone, teacher, b Lesser Slave Lake, Alta, 30 Apr 1901. His father was the bishop of Moosonee. Holmes studied singing in Toronto with Albert Ham at the Canadian Academy of Music and in London with Harry Plunkett Greene at the RCM. He also studied in France and Germany.

Holmes, Leslie

Leslie Holmes. Baritone, teacher, b Lesser Slave Lake, Alta, 30 Apr 1901. His father was the bishop of Moosonee. Holmes studied singing in Toronto with Albert Ham at the Canadian Academy of Music and in London with Harry Plunkett Greene at the RCM. He also studied in France and Germany. He made his reputation as an oratorio and recital singer in England and was renowned for his interpretation of the Christus in the St Matthew Passion. On visits to eastern Canada Holmes gave recitals in 1930, 1931, and 1933 and was a soloist with the Montreal Orchestra and the TSO. After World War II Holmes returned to Canada to teach at the TCM and on 11 Jun 1946 he sang the Christus in a performance of the St Matthew Passion conducted by Sir Ernest MacMillan for the Montreal Festivals. He went back to England, taught 1947-54 at the RAM, and was made an honorary member of that institution. Holmes moved to Canada in 1954 to teach again at the RCMT and gave recitals in Toronto in 1954, 1955, and 1958.

In addition to oratorio roles Holmes' repertoire included the song cycles of Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms, and a large selection of French, English, and Italian songs. Augustus Bridle, in a review (Toronto Daily Star, 17 Jun 1946) of a recital which featured Schumann's Dichterliebe, Opus 48, remarked that 'no Canadian quite ever equalled this sincere exposition of a song cycle'; and after a later recital John Kraglund (Toronto Globe and Mail, 22 Oct 1954) noted his 'easy presentation, his air of relaxation and considerable, intelligent artistry'. Prominent among Holmes' Canadian pupils were James Milligan, Jan Simons, and Harry Mossfield. Holmes retired from the RCMT in 1959 and returned to England.