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Canadian Music Centre Musique Canadienne

By David A. Julien, Ontario Regional Director

Volume 12 Number 1

The canadian music centre does its work quietly. For that reason, many music educators are not fully aware of the resources available to them. CMC celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1984, and it seems an appropriate time to take a closer look at what it has to offer.

The Canadian Music Centre exists to collect and promote the works of Canada's composers. It acts as a nerve centre for the activities of these "associate composers" and is dedicated to building an environment and audience for the future.

The most important resource available to a teacher is, of course, the library. This collection of nearly eight thousand scores is housed in the Toronto office of the CMC, as well as in the Montréal, Calgary, and Vancouver regional Centres. Copies of the original works are available on loan, for rent, or for purchase. These scores, nearly all of them in the composer's own hand, are catalogued according to instrumentation and, along with the accompanying tape and record holdings, represent a major national archive. 1984 will see the start of an effort to computerize the card catalogue. In the meantime, there are printed catalogues and supplements available that describe the collection.

In addition to the scores themselves, the library contains a number of specialized reference books. The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 1981) is the most important work of its kind to appear to date and is available in both English and French. Also available are the excellent Contemporary Canadian Composers (Oxford, 1975), as well as volumes both about and by Canadian composers. Examples of the latter are Canadian Music of the Twentieth Century (University of Toronto Press 1980), by George Proctor, and The Tuning of the World (McClelland and Stewart, 1977), by R. Murray Schafer. The University of Toronto Press's Canadian Composers series is probably the best in-depth source of material on specific composers. These monographs deal with such composers as Healey Willan, R. Murray Schafer, Harry Somers, and Barbara Pentland. Of special interest are several monographs on Quebec composers and the musicology series A l'ecoute de la musique d'ici (Volume 1, 1976; Volume 2,1983) produced by the CMC in Montréal.

Educators interested in research projects will find the extensive composers' files being kept in the Toronto office an invaluable aid to any student working on a Canadian music unit. There is also a good deal of general information and material that the CMC can offer both the teacher and student. The newsletters of the British Columbia, Prairie, and Ontario regions can be obtained free of charge and provide valuable performance information. The CMC distributes materials provided by the two Canadian performing rights organizations (Performing Rights Organization of Canada Ltd. and Composers, Authors, and Publishers Association of Canada, Ltd. PRO Canada publishes comprehensive brochures containing biographies and repertoire lists. CAPAC produces small Musical Portrait records that contain selections from the composer's repertoire. Both are available from the CMC free of charge. In addition to the background material that is available, the Canadian Music Centre stays in close contact with the country's performers and musical organizations and is able to provide information on both current and planned performances of Canadian compositions.

The Canadian Music Centre recognizes that one of the most important areas in which it can be involved is that of education. The CMC is constantly seeking to strengthen its direct ties to music educators, and it is fitting that the office of the Canadian Music Educators Association (CMEA) will be located in the Canadian Music Centre's new national headquarters (Toronto), scheduled for completion in June,1984.

The CMC itself has had a long-standing educational program, the John Adaskin Project. In 1973 this became a joint project of the CMC and the CMEA. Directed by University of Toronto professor Patricia Martin Shand, the Adaskin project has overseen the careful examination and field-testing of Canadian repertoire in order to find material suitable for classroom use. This effort has produced two published volumes, Canadian Music: A Selective Guidelist for Teachers and Musique canadienne: oeuvres choisies a l'intention des professeurs. Nearing completion are a number of carefully annotated repertoire lists for specific instruments and ensembles. The Adaskin project has also been responsible for a number of educational commissions in the past and hopes to continue to add to the school repertoire in this way.

In addition, the CMC Ontario Region has formed an education committee, whose mandate it is to develop programs and materials for classroom use. The committee is composed of music educators and is able to act as a liaison between the CMC and the schools.

Both the Adaskin project and the Ontario Education Committee rely heavily on the experience and advice of colleagues in the teaching profession, and they provide the profession with a ready input into how contemporary materials are best used in the classroom.

Equally exciting is the fact that, through the CMC, the music teacher is able to research new repertoire and, indeed, to make contact with any number of composers themselves. This becomes especially valuable when educators wish to commission new works specifically for their own needs or have a composer actually visit their classrooms as a supplement to on-going programs.

The Canadian Music Centre's distribution service for recordings of contemporary Canadian music, and the CMC's own label, Centrediscs, offer the teacher a wealth of recordings for use in music appreciation. Centrediscs provide the highest quality digital recordings of some of Canada's best musicians performing a broad range of fine Canadian works. Copies of the complete record catalogue are available upon request.

Many teachers find that first-hand experience is the best way to get to know the centre. They schedule regular visits to the CMC for themselves and their students. These visits always prove to be well worthwhile for everyone involved.

The Canadian Music Centre takes this opportunity to extend its hospitality and resources to music teachers, students and librarians interested in discovering more about their own musical heritage.

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1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


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