Fleming, Robert (James Berkeley)

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Fleming, Robert (James Berkeley)

Fleming, Robert (James Berkeley), Canadian composer, pianist, organist, choirmaster, and teacher; b. Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Nov. 12, 1921;d. Ottawa, Nov. 28, 1976. He was a student of Benjamin (piano) and Howells (composition) at the Royal Coll. of Music in London (1937–39); he then studied piano with Lyell Gustin (1941–42) and attended the Toronto Cons, of Music (1941, 1945) as a student of Norman Wilks (piano), Frederick Silvester and John Weatherseed (organ), Mazzoleni (conducting), and Willan (composition). In 1945–46 he taught piano at Upper Canada Coll., and then was a staff composer (1946–58) and music director (1958–70) with the National Film Board; he also served as organist-choirmaster at Glebe United Church (1954–56) and at St. George’s Anglican Church of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue (1959–70) in Quebec. Settling in Ottawa, he joined the faculty of Carleton Univ. in 1970 and in 1972 he became organist-choirmaster at St. Matthias’ Church. In his extensive catalogue of works, Fleming adhered to a generally tonal path.


DRAMATIC Ballet: Chapter 13 (1948); Shadow on the Prairie (1951); Romance (1954). OTHER: 3 puppet plays; more than 250 film scores. ORCH.: 5 suites (1942–63); Rondo (1942); 6 Variations on a Liturgical Theme for Strings (1946); Red River Country (1953); Seaboard Sketches (1953); Recollections for Violin and Strings (1954); Ballet Introduction (1960); Concerto 64 for Piano and Orch. (1964); Tuba Concerto (1966); 4 Fantasias on Canadian Folk Themes (1966); Hexad (1972); band pieces. CHAMBER: Violin Sonata (1944); A Musician in the Family for Trombone and Piano (1952); A 2 Piece Suite for 2 Clarinets and Bass Clarinet (1958); Colours of the Rainbow for Wind Quartet, String Quartet, and Harp (1962); Maritime Suite for Wind Quartet, String Quartet, and Harp (1962); 3 Miniatures for Brass Quintet (1962); Go for Baroque for Flute, Oboe, and Harpsichord (1963); 3 Dialogues for Flute or Oboe and Piano or Harpsichord (1964); Brass Quintet (1965); String Quartet (1969); Almost Waltz for Flute and Piano (1970); Divertimento for Organ, 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass (1970); Explorations for Accordion (1970); Threo for Soprano Saxophone and Piano (1972); many piano pieces; organ music. VOCAL: Choral works and songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire