Norman Wilks

Norman Wilks. Pianist, teacher, administrator, b Birchington, Kent, England, 9 Jun 1885, d Toronto 20 Nov 1944. As a boy he won a singing scholarship for the Duke of Newcastle Choir.

Wilks, Norman

Norman Wilks. Pianist, teacher, administrator, b Birchington, Kent, England, 9 Jun 1885, d Toronto 20 Nov 1944. As a boy he won a singing scholarship for the Duke of Newcastle Choir. He studied piano in England with Michael Hambourg and Frederic Lamond and composition with Ebenezer Prout and Joseph Holbrooke, later attended the Brussels Cons, and then studied piano in Germany with Artur Schnabel. He toured North America 1913-14, playing six times with the Boston SO. Interrupting his career to serve in World War I, he earned the Military Cross. After the war he resumed playing and gave recitals in England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Australia, and the West Indies and appeared with the Queen's Hall, Royal Philharmonic, and continental European orchestras. In Canada 1928-44 his major interest was music education. He lectured and examined for the TCM, of which he became principal in 1942, succeeding Sir Ernest MacMillan. He fought what he called 'turning out Beethoven sausages in the examination machine' and emphasized the element of discovery in a student's approach to music. He co-authored The Boris Berlin Musical Kindergarten Piano Method: Guide for Teachers, published in 1940, and edited The Conservatory Sonatina Album, published posthumously in 1945 and reissued in 1981. His pupils included Robert Fleming, Patricia Blomfield Holt, Weldon Kilburn, Margaret Parsons, and Malcolm Troup. He was president of the OMTA (ORMTA) 1940-2.

Writings

'Interpretation and examinations,' CQR, vol 12, Winter 1929

'On playing Beethoven,' CQR, vol 14, Autumn 1931

'Norman Wilks - 1885-1944: a tribute,' ConsB, 98, Apr-May 1946