Switzerland

Switzerland. Emigration from Switzerland to Canada began in the late 18th century. By 1871 some 3000 people of Swiss descent were living in Canada; by 1986 their numbers had reached 60,280.

Switzerland

Switzerland. Emigration from Switzerland to Canada began in the late 18th century. By 1871 some 3000 people of Swiss descent were living in Canada; by 1986 their numbers had reached 60,280. While festivities organized by Swiss-Canadian societies for Switzerland's National Day (1 August) have included dancers, singers, and yodellers chosen to help preserve Swiss popular traditions in Canada, the greatest Swiss contribution to Canadian music has been made by a few individuals.

Among Swiss-born musicians who have lived in Canada are Napoléon Aubin (who settled in Canada in 1835), Ettore Mazzoleni (1929), the cellist and former Calgary Philharmonic manager Kurt Trachsel (1936), Edward Laufer (1939), Boris Roubakine (1949), Pierre Souvairan (1953), Jean-Pierre Vetter (1955), Regula Qureshi (1960s), Hellmuth Wolff (1963), the baritone Pierre Mollet (who began to teach at the CMM in 1969), the MSO conductor Charles Dutoit (1976), and the Montreal-based violin maker Pierre Dalphin (1977). Willi Germann, the promoter of Vancouver Planetarium Jazz concerts in the mid-1970s, was born in Switzerland. Gustave Smith and A.S. Vogt had Swiss-born mothers. Edward Ermatinger, who according to Marius Barbeau was the first (1830) to notate French folksongs in the New World, was of Swiss-Italian descent but born on the isle of Elba and never a Swiss resident. The organist Victor Togni (1935-65), born of Swiss parents in Tanganyika, studied 1951-7 in Geneva, Rome, Paris, and London, then served at St Columkille's Cathedral in Pembroke, Ont, and at St Basil's Church and St Michael's Cathedral, Toronto, before his death in an automobile accident near Gananoque, Ont.

Musicians who lived in Switzerland before settling in Canada are Mario Duschenes and Lorand Fenyves. Swiss artists who have appeared in Canada include Ernest Ansermet, who was a guest conductor with the MSO and conducted the Orchestre de la Suisse romande at Expo 67, the pianists Karl Engel and Bela Siki (both of whom toured for the JMC (YMC) during the 1950s), the Geneva Quartet, and the oboist and composer Heinz Holliger. An Ernest Ansermet Exposition was held at Montreal's PDA in 1984. Canadians who have been resident performers in Switzerland include Kenneth Asch (Ascher Duo), Donald Bell, Garnet Brooks, Steven Dann, Paul Frey, James Milligan, Walter Prystawski, and Irene Salemka. The Canadian oboist Louise Pellerin has made her career in Switzerland beginning in the early 1980s. Canadian visitors to Switzerland include the MSO, which performed there under Zubin Mehta in 1966 and under Dutoit in 1991. In 1969 the Toronto Youth Orchestra under Jacob Groob placed first in the International Symphony Festival at St Moritz, and John Rea's ballet The Days placed third in the International Competition for Opera and Ballet Composition. Several Canadians have won prizes or medals in the International Competition for Musical Performers in Geneva, including Rafael Masella (1949), the mezzo-soprano Marie Laferrière (1975), the pianists Ick Choo Moon and Philip Thomson (1977), the bassist Joel Quarrington who won a silver medal and tied for second prize (1978; no first prize was awarded that year), and Sharon Ann Miller (Sharon Coste, 1987). Among those who have appeared at the International Jazz Festival at Montreux are Dionysos and Ivan Landry (1971), Oscar Peterson (who recorded there in 1975, 1977, and 1979), several groups - the Tommy Banks Band with the vocalist 'Big' Miller, the University of Regina Jazz Band, the York University Sextet, and the jazz-rock group Aquarelle - in 1978; and Salome Bey, Ed Bickert, and Fraser MacPherson, whose 1979 performances were recorded along with Peterson's (RCI 503).

Major Swiss compositions which have been performed in Canada include a number of Honegger symphonies, as well as his Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher (1953, Montreal Festivals, with Pelletier conducting, and numerous other performances elsewhere) and Pacific 231. Frank Martin's Petite Symphonie concertante and Jedermann Monologues have been performed, as have his oratorio Golgotha and his 'profane oratorio' le Vin Herbé, both on CBC radio. In 1975 Rolf Liebermann's Concerto for jazz band and orchestra was heard in a concert at Pollack Hall in Montreal.