Canadian Music History at The Leading Note

August 8, 2013

The bookshelves at The Leading Note are always getting more full. We recently added a few new books to our shelves that tell the stories of major Canadian musical institutions. One of these, The National Arts Centre, is very close to home—only a few blocks away. Other books cover opera, musical theatre and choral music. Read on for more information.




Art and Politics: The History of the National Arts Centre

Sarah Jennings

Art and Politics is the story of the creation and first four decades of one of Canada’s pre-eminent cultural organizations. While it documents the history of the country’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa, it also describes the arts in Canada from the 1960s to the present… Written in a documentary style, moving from episode to episode, the story is enriched by the personal memories of those who participated in the making of the NAC, including the leading artists, managers, officials, and politicians who were involved.

We also have two new books that narrate the history of the theatrical musical productions in Toronto, both opera and music theatre:




Opera Viva: Canadian Opera Company – The First Fifty Years

Ezra Schabas & Carl Morey

It started with a festival – three classic operas performed in a theatre in Toronto. But when it became apparent that there was a need for a national opera company, an organization was founded that would go on to become one of the largest performing arts organizations in the country. Opera Viva is a history of the Company, but it is more than that: it is also a history of Canada’s cultural growth in the second half of the twentieth century, a time when the Canadian Opera Company became central to Canada’s musical life. As the story of the Company unfolds, the figures and personalities that were integral to the building of this landmark of Canadian culture are brought to life.




Broadway North: The Dream of a Canadian Musical Theatre

Mel Atkey

Did you know that the idea behind the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes was first tried out in Toronto? That Canada produced the world’s longest-running annual revue? Few people realize the Canadian influences that are at the heart of American and British culture. Author Mel Atkey traces the history of musical theatre in Canada through interviews with leading figures in Canada’s growing theatre scene.

For fans of Canada’s vibrant choral scene, this new book gives you inside information into the careers of Canada’s famous choral directors. Read about the adventures, work and successes of Iwan Edwards, Diane Loomer, John Washburn Ottawa’s own Barbara Clarke, and more:




In Their Own Words: Canadian Choral Conductors

Ed. Holly Higgins Jonas

They are at the heart of every community in Canada, whether they be singing in concert or rehearsal, in a worship service or at a special event. They are Canada’s choirs, and their dedication to their craft is a source of both entertainment and inspiration. And at the heart of every choir, there is a choir master who, through talent and commitment, brings the voices together. In Their Own Words relates the stories of Canada’s most distinguished and innovative choir masters. In their own words, each tells of their life in music, and shares their thoughts on music and the role of the choir. Many of those profiled have gained international recognition, winning prizes overseas. All have helped to bring the vocal heart-pourings of enthusiastic singers to audiences across the country.

We have many other books about musical topics: biographies, performance topics, instruments, choral music and conducting and more. Browse our book section in our Online Store or visit our shop to peruse the books in person.

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