Samuel Hersenhoren

Samuel (David) Hersenhoren. Conductor, violinist, b Toronto 2 Jul 1908, d there 18 Aug 1982. After studies in Toronto with Samuel Barshtz and with Mrs S.R. McCully at the Hambourg Conservatory, he made his debut at Massey Hall at 11.

Hersenhoren, Samuel

Samuel (David) Hersenhoren. Conductor, violinist, b Toronto 2 Jul 1908, d there 18 Aug 1982. After studies in Toronto with Samuel Barshtz and with Mrs S.R. McCully at the Hambourg Conservatory, he made his debut at Massey Hall at 11. He then studied 1920-5 in Toronto and in several European centres with Jan Hambourg. On his return to Toronto Hersenhoren made his radio debut in 1925 on CKNC (where he later played in Geoffrey Waddington's orchestra). He played 1925-7 in the New Symphony Orchestra and 1927-44 in the TSO. He also played in various theatre orchestras and, in the early 1960s, in the CBC Symphony Orchestra. He was founder (and conductor 1932-40) of the New World Chamber Orchestra - six strings and piano - which toured Ontario, gave school concerts for the Toronto Board of Education, and in 1934 performed with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

In 1933 Hersenhoren began conducting the orchestras for such CRBC (later, CBC) programs as 'Lullabye Lagoon,' 'Fugitive Melodies,' 'Dancing Strings,' and, during World War II, 'Carry on Canada,' 'Comrades in Arms,' and the 'Johnny Home Show' 1945-6. In 1943 he conducted CBC radio orchestras in the premieres of Weinzweig'sOur Canada and Willan's Hymn for Those in the Air. From 1941 to 1945 he conducted 25 Victory Loan Shows, starring Raymond Massey, Beatrice Lillie, Ronald Coleman, Charles Boyer, and others. In 1945 he began a long association with the comedians Wayne and Shuster, conducting for their CBC radio and TV shows. (The latter began in 1954.) For his radio work Hersenhoren received LaFlèche Trophies in 1945, 1946, and 1947. In 1947 he re-formed and enlarged the New World Chamber Orchestra for a CBC summer series on which he conducted radio premieres or Canadian premieres of Samuel Barber's Capricorn Concerto, Gerald Bales'Essay for Strings, Oskar Morawetz'Serenade, Barbara Pentland'sColony Music, Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat, and Walter Piston's Divertimento. The orchestra was active until 1951. Hersenhoren was music director 1952-4 of 'The Big Revue', the first CBC TV variety show. He was a guest conductor of the Promenade Symphony Concerts, the TSO, and, for summer series in 1946 and 1947, the Buffalo Philharmonic. He was second violin 1942-51 of the Parlow String Quartet and in 1945 founded the Canadian Artists Trio with Cornelius Ysselstyn, cello, and Leo Barkin, piano. In 1950 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto, he conducted the orchestra for the first Canadian ballet festival, at which the Volkoff Ballet gave the premiere of Weinzweig's Red Ear of Corn. Active in later years as a freelance violinist in various orchestras, Hersenhoren continued his association with Wayne and Shuster and was the conductor 1967-9 of the Etobicoke Philharmonic Orchestra. His enthusiastic and consistently expert performance of all genres of music - 'serious' and 'light,' established and experimental, professional and amateur - contributed significantly not only to the musical education of Canadians but also to their sheer enjoyment of music as entertainment.


Further Reading

  • 'Samuel Hersenhoren starts his 25th year in radio,' CBC Times, 11 Sep 1949

    'Samuel Hersenhoren: a ''radio conductor'' par excellence,' CBC Times, 30 Mar-5 Apr 1952