Bissell, Keith (Warren)

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Bissell, Keith (Warren)

Bissell, Keith (Warren), Canadian composer, music educator, and conductor; b. Meaford, near Owen Sound, Ontario, Feb. 12, 1912; d. Newmarket, near Toronto, May 9, 1992. He was a composition student of Leo Smith at the Univ. of Toronto (B.Mus., 1942), and later studied with Gunild Keetman and Orff in Munich (1960). After teaching in Toronto schools (1934–48), he was asst. supervisor (1948) and then supervisor (1949–55) of school music in Edmonton. From 1955 to 1976 he served as supervisor of school music in Scarborough (part of Metropolitan Toronto), where he introduced the Orff Schulwerk method. He also was conductor of the Scarborough Orff Ensemble (1960–73). In addition to his works for professional performance, he wrote much music for the young.


DRAMATIC: His Majesty’s Pie, operetta (1964); The Centennial Play, incidental music (1967); A Musical Play, operetta (1977); The Miraculous Turnip, children’s opera (1980). ORCH.: 3 Pieces for Strings (1960); Under the Apple Boughs for Horn and Strings (1962); Concertino for Piano and Strings (1962); Adagio for Small Orch. (1963); Little Suite for Trumpet and Strings (1963); Divertimento for Strings (1964); Canada 1967 (1967); Andante e Scherzo for Chamber Orch. (1971); Variations on a Canadian Folk Song for Strings (1972); 3 Commentaries on Canadian Folk Songs for Strings (1973); Andante and Allegro for Oboe and Strings (1976). CHAMBER: Ballad for Violin and Piano (1947); Violin Sonata (1948); A Folk Song Suite for Winds (1960); Little Suite for Trumpet and Piano (1962); Serenade for Wind Quintet (1972); Trio Suite for Trumpet, Horn, and Trombone (1973); Suite for Bassoon, String Quartet, and Percussion (1977); Suite for Brass Quintet (1977); Suite for Winds (1978); Horn Sonata (1978); In the Modes for Recorder and Percussion (1982); 3 Pieces for 4 Recorders (1986). VOCAL: People Look East, cantata for Soloists, Chorus, and 4 Instruments (1965); Let There Be Joy, cantata for Soloists, Chorus, and 5 Instruments (1965); Canada, Dear Home/Canada douce patrie for Chorus and Orch. (1966); A Bluebird in March for Chorus and Orch. (1967); The Passion According to St. Luke for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1970); How the Loon Gots Its Necklace for Narrator, String Quintet, and Percussion (1971); Cantate Domino for Women’s Chorus and Chamber Orch. (1977); Anniversary Cantata for Chorus and Orch. (1978); A Celebration of the Nativity for Soloists, Chorus, and Chamber Orch. (1978); Great Little One: Music for the Nativity for Chorus and Orch. (1983); choruses; arrangements.


M. Irving, K. B.: His Life, Career and Contribution to Music Education from 1912-76 (thesis, Univ. of Western Ontario, 1982).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire