Weinzweig, John (Jacob)

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Weinzweig, John (Jacob)

Weinzweig, John (Jacob) , Canadian composer, teacher, and administrator; b. Toronto, March 11, 1913. He learned to play the mandolin, piano, tuba, tenor saxophone, and double bass. He was a student of Willan (counterpoint and fugue), Leo Smith (harmony), and MacMillan (orchestration) at the Univ. of Toronto (B.Mus., 1937), of Reginald Stewart (conducting) at the Toronto Cons, of Music, and of Rogers (orchestration and composition) at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (M.Mus., 1938). After serving as founder-conductor of the Univ. of Toronto Sym. Orch. (1934-37), he taught at the Toronto Cons, of Music (1939-43; 1945-60) and at the Univ. of Toronto (1952-78). In 1951 he founded the Canadian League of Composers and was its first president until 1957, and then again from 1959 to 1963. He was the author of John Weinzweig: His Words and His Music (Grimsby, Ontario, 1986) and Sounds and Reflections (Grimsby, 1990). In 1974 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1988 he received the Order of Ontario. In his music, Weinzweig began using serial procedures in 1939. His output continued to reflect his interest in advanced compositional means of expression throughout his career.


dramatic: Ballet: The Whirling Dwarf (1939); Red Ear of Corn (Toronto, March 2, 1949). O t h e r : 4 film scores; more than 100 radio scores. ORCH.: Legend (1937); The Enchanted Hill (1938); Suite (1938); Spectre for Timpani and Strings (1938); A Tale of Tuamotu for Bassoon and Orch. (1939); Sym. (1940); Rhapsody (1941); Interlude in an Artist’s Life for Strings (1943); Our Canada (1943); Band- Hut Sketches for Band (1944); Edge of the World (1946); 11 divertimentos: No. 1 for Flute and Strings (1946), No. 2 for Oboe and Strings (1948), No. 3 for Bassoon and Strings (I960), No. 4 for Clarinet and Strings (1968; out of chronological order), No. 5 for Trumpet, Trombone, and Winds (1961), No. 6 for Alto Saxophone and Strings (1972), No. 7 for Horn and Strings (1979), No. 8 for Tuba and Orch. (1980), No. 9 for Full Orch. (1982), No. 10 for Piano and Strings (1988), and No. 11 for English Horn and Strings (1990); Round Dance (1950); Violin Concerto (1951-54; Toronto, May 30, 1955); Symphonic Ode (1958); Piano Concerto (Toronto, Dec. 15, 1966); Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orch. (Toronto, April 30, 1967); Dummiyah (Silence; Toronto, July 4,1969); Out of the Blues for Concert Band (1981). CHAMBER: 3 string quartets (1937, 1946, 1962); Violin Sonata (1943); Fanfare for 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, and Percussion (1943); Intermissions for Flute and Oboe (1943); Cello Sonata, Israel (1949); Woodwind Quintet (1964); Clarinet Quintet (1965); Around the Stage in 25 Minutes During Which a Variety of Instruments Are Struck for Percussionist (1970); Riffs for Flute (1974); Contrasts for Guitar (1976); Pieces of 5 for Brass Quintet (1976); Refrains for Double Bass and Piano (1977); 18 Pieces for Guitar (1980); 15 Pieces for Harp (1983); Music Centre Serenade for Flute, Horn, Viola, and Cello (1984); Conversations for 3 Guitars (1984); Cadenza for Clarinet (1986); Birthday Notes for Flute and Piano (1987); Tremologue for Viola (1987). KEYBOARD: Piano : 2 suites (1939,1950); Swing a Fugue (1949); Melos (1949); Sonata (1950); Impromptus (1973); CanOn Stride (1986); Tango for 2 (1986; rev. 1987); Micromotions (1988); 3 Pieces (1989); Duologue for 2 Pianos (1990). Organ : Improvisations on an Indian Tune (1942). VOCAL: Wine of Peace for Soprano and Orch. (1957); Trialogue for Soprano, Flute, and Piano (1971); Private Collection for Soprano and Piano (1975); Choral Pieces (1985-86).


E. Keillor, J. W. and His Music: The Radical Romantic of Canada (Metuchen, N.J., 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire