Simon Nicholas Streatfeild, conductor, violist (born 5 October 1929 in Windsor, England; died 7 December 2019). Simon Streatfeild was an accomplished violist and conductor. He began his career in his native England with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sadler’s Wells Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. He also helped found the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields chamber orchestra. He moved to Canada in 1965 and held many positions with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra while also conducting across Canada and internationally. He was a founding member of the Baroque Strings of Vancouver, the founding director of the Courtenay Youth Music Camp, and a founding member of the Purcell String Quartet. In his later years, Streatfeild served as principal guest conductor and artistic advisor of Orchestra London Canada, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra. He received the Canadian Music Council Medal in 1987 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Education and Career in England
Simon Streatfeild studied viola with Frederick Riddle at the Royal Conservatory of Music from 1946 to 1950. He then played in the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also principal viola of the Sadler’s Wells Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra, and was a founding member of the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields chamber orchestra.
Career in Canada
After moving to Canada in 1965, Streatfeild served as principal viola (1965–69), as assistant conductor (1967–71), as acting music director (1971–72), and as associate conductor (1972–77) of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He was also guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; the Scottish National and various BBC orchestras; the Royal Choral Society; the Belgian and Danish radio orchestras; and the Poznan, Oslo, and Seoul philharmonic orchestras. He became a Canadian citizen in 1982.
In Canada, Streatfeild appeared with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra, and the Orchestre des jeunes du Québec, among others. He was a founding member of the Baroque Strings of Vancouver (1966–68), the founding director of the Courtenay Youth Music Camp (1967–69), the conductor and director of the Vancouver Bach Choir (1969–81), and a founding member of the Purcell String Quartet (1968–69). He later rejoined the quartet as second viola for its series of recordings of the Mozart and Brahms string quintets.
Streatfeild was a visiting professor at the University of Western Ontario (1977–81). He conducted the Regina Symphony Orchestra (1981–84), and was conductor and director of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (1982–2000) and the Quebec Symphony Orchestra (1983–91). He was named artistic director of the Guelph Spring Festival in 1989. He served as professor of orchestral conducting and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Norwegian State Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway. In his later years, Streatfeild served as principal guest conductor and artistic advisor of Orchestra London Canada, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra (2004–07).
Streatfeild was awarded the Canadian Music Council Medal in 1987 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.
- Mozart Serenata Notturna. London SO, Maag conductor. 1960? Lon SPA-550/Mus H Soc MHS-4994
- Telemann Viola Concerto. Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Marriner conductor. 1964. L'Oiseau Lyre SOL-276/Lon STS-15587
- MacMillan Six Bergerettes du bas Canada. Vancouver Chamber Group. 1972. CBC SM-204
- Summer Music From Courtenay '74: Tchaikovsky - Wagner - Bach - Beethoven. BC Summer Youth Orchestra. 2-CYMC EPN-208
- See also Discographies for CBC Vancouver Orchestra, NYO, Purcell String Quartet, Quebec SO, and Vancouver Bach Choir