Waterloo Music Company Ltd.

Waterloo Music Company Ltd. Publishing and instrument retailing firm founded in 1921 by Charles F. Thiele in Waterloo, Ont. Thiele was sole owner until 1951, when Waterloo Music became a limited company with Thiele as president (1951-4; followed by R.P.

Waterloo Music Company Ltd

Waterloo Music Company Ltd. Publishing and instrument retailing firm founded in 1921 by Charles F. Thiele in Waterloo, Ont. Thiele was sole owner until 1951, when Waterloo Music became a limited company with Thiele as president (1951-4; followed by R.P. Uffelmann 1954-60, Fred Moogk 1960-75, Howard Underwood 1975-9, and William Brubacher). As a local agent for band instruments Thiele set up the company in his home. His first successful business endeavour, the importation and distribution of sheet music suitable for silent film accompaniment, declined with the advent of talking pictures in the late 1920s. In 1927 he turned to educational materials, which have proved the mainstay of the company.

Activities to 1980s

Waterloo publishes Conservatory Canada (formerly Western Ontario Conservatory of Music) and Western Board of Music piano examination books and issues theory, harmony, and history texts for use in elementary and secondary schools. Band music was first published in the 1930s, and the Waterloo band catalogue, offering original works by Canadians and reprints of music by foreign composers, was the largest in Canada by 1960. The choral catalogue, secular and sacred, includes the Waterloo Folk Music Library (begun 1954), edited by Edith Fowke and Richard Johnston, and Eric Wild's Hymn Sing Choral Series (begun 1973). Both series include recordings. Waterloo has published music for piano, accordion, strings, and winds and in the 1970s popular music, including a folio by April Wine. Canadian composers published by Waterloo include Violet Archer, John Beckwith, Keith Bissell, Kenneth Bray, Barrie Cabena, F.R.C. Clarke, Jean Coulthard, Samuel Dolin, George Fiala, Robert Fleming, Richard Johnston, Walter Kemp, Talivaldis Kenins, James Lawless, Walter MacNutt, Robert McMullin, Barbara Pentland, Godfrey Ridout, Eric Wild, Healey Willan, and Gerhard Wuensch. Performers recorded on the Waterloo label (established in 1971) include J. Chalmers Doane, John Greenwood, Robert McMullin's Sound 80 Orchestra, the Memorial University Chamber Choir, the CBC Hymn Sing Chorus, and the Men of the Deeps. Waterloo acquired Melbourne from Rodeo Records in 1977 for its classical record issues and established Action Press, its own printing and binding business, in 1979. The sale of imported musical instruments accounted for over half of the company's business in the mid-1970s. Waterloo maintains a large instrument repair shop. It opened a retail branch in Ottawa in 1965, but this was closed in 1986 due to the company's financial difficulties. After 1986, Waterloo eliminated many of its agency functions and concentrated on instrument sales, repair and rental, and on publishing, recording and retail sales, with continued emphasis on educational materials. Waterloo was a PRO Canada affiliate. Its subsidiary, Peter McKee Music Co Ltd (established in 1966), was a member of CAPAC (Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada Ltd).

After 1990

In 1991 the Waterloo Music Academy was established, teaching lessons in 10 music disciplines. In the early part of the millennium, Waterloo Music published the new Conservatory Canada series, including the New Millennium piano and voice series, syllabi, and other materials. The Lawless theory courses were updated, and new works added for the second edition series. Avrahm Galper's clarinet method books were added in 1994.


Further Reading

  • 'Waterloo Music Company: the house that service built,' Recorder, vol 7, Nov-Dec 1964

    Grayhurst, Denis. 'Waterloo Music,' MSc, 240, Mar-Apr 1968

    'Educational material, recordings are two aspects of Waterloo Music Company's activities,' MSc, 284, Jul-Aug 1975