Susie Frances Harrison

Harrison, Susie (Susan) Frances (b Riley). Composer, writer, pianist, b Toronto 24 Feb 1859, d there 5 May 1935. Wife of J.W.F. Harrison. She was educated in Toronto and Montreal, studied piano with Frederic Boscovitz in Toronto, and performed as an accompanist and soloist.

Harrison, Susie Frances

Harrison, Susie (Susan) Frances (b Riley). Composer, writer, pianist, b Toronto 24 Feb 1859, d there 5 May 1935. Wife of J.W.F. Harrison. She was educated in Toronto and Montreal, studied piano with Frederic Boscovitz in Toronto, and performed as an accompanist and soloist. The author of at least six volumes of poetry and three novels, she also wrote a number of songs and keyboard works published in England and the USA under the name Seranus. Other songs were published in England under the name Gilbert King. Her compositions include 'Address of Welcome to Lord Lansdowne' (1883), written while she lived in Ottawa; 'An Old-Fashioned Love Song' (ca 1885); String Quartet on Ancient Irish Airs; and Trois Esquisses canadiennes: 'Dialogue,' 'Nocturne,' and 'Chant du voyageur' (Nordheimer 1887; 'Chant du voyageur' repr CMH vol 6), piano arrangements of French-Canadian airs. Her three-act opera Pipandor, with libretto by F.A. Dixon of Ottawa, also incorporated French-Canadian folk songs. Harrison was considered an authority on French-Canadian folk materials and often gave illustrated lectures on the subject. She was the music critic of Toronto's The Week from December 1886 to June 1887 under her pen-name, Seranus; she also was editor in the 1900s of the TCM's Conservatory Monthly and contributed to the later Conservatory Quarterly Review.

Writings

'Historical sketch of music in Canada,' Canada: An Encyclopedia of the Country, vol 4, ed J.C. Hopkins (Toronto 1898)

'On French-Canadian folksong,' MCan, vol 2, Jan 1908

'Canada,' The Imperial History and Encyclopedia of Music, vol 3: History of Foreign Music, ed W.L. Hubbard (New York ca 1909)


Further Reading

  • Wetherald, A. Ethelwyn. 'Some Canadian literary women - I Seranus,' The Week, vol 5, Mar 1888