Gordon Wry

​Gordon Wry, tenor, choir conductor (born 7 October 1910 in Saint John, NB; died 1985).

Gordon Wry, tenor, choir conductor (born 7 October 1910 in Saint John, NB; died 1985). Gordon Wry was a tenor who sang with the CBC Opera Company and the Festival Singers. He was also the founding director of the Massey College Singers, and in the early 1950s served as the Canadian agent of G. Ricordi & Co. music publishers.

Career Highlights

Wry studied voice with Agnes Forbes in his native Saint John and was a church soloist at Trinity Anglican. From 1937 to 1940, he attended the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music), where he studied voice with Albert Whitehead and Nellie Smith, and theory with Healey Willan. While in Toronto, he sang as a church soloist at Knox Presbyterian (1937–50) and Grace Church on-the-Hill (1950–77). He was also tenor soloist in several performances of the St Matthew Passion under Sir Ernest MacMillan.

As a leading tenor with the CBC Opera Company (1949–53), Wry sang Florestan in Fidelio (1949), Bob Boles in the award-winning production of Peter Grimes (1949), and Mr. Upford in Albert Herring (1950). He was a soloist in the Canadian premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Spring Symphony on 21 February 1957, and gave the Canadian premiere of the same composer’s Fourth Canticle at the University of Toronto’s Massey College on 17 December 1972.

Wry was a founding member of the Festival Singers in 1953 and sang with them until 1974. He also founded the Massey College Singers in 1963 and remained their director until 1979.

A version of this entry originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

Further Reading

  • Walter Pitman, Elmer Iseler: Choral Visionary (Dundurn, 2008).

External Links