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Glick, Irving Srul


GLICK, IRVING SRUL (1934–2002), Canadian composer. Born in Toronto, Glick was raised with music. He learned about cantillation from his father, a Russian-born cantor; the Western classical repertoire from his brother, a professional clarinetist; and Jewish folk music from the Habonim Zionists.

When Glick graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelors and masters of music in theory and composition, he firmly believed in the international, non-denominational nature of music. After studying with composers Louis Saguer, Darius *Milhaud, and Max Deutsch, he began changing this view. Contemplating his existence as a composer and his personal Jewish identity, he concluded that his Jewish roots were deeper than his desire to compose universal music.

This reassessment allowed Glick to incorporate ancestral musical motifs into his compositions. At times, as in his only ballet Heritage Dance Symphony, he attempted to synthesize dance music and jazz rhythms with Hebraic lyricism. Alternately, he layered textural and chordal density with Jewish folk tonality. Through experimentation, Glick developed a complex personal idiom combining Jewish and classical traditions into openly lyrical, emotional music. For example, Glick's song cycle, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, addressed the Holocaust by using the poetry of the Theresienstadt concentration camp children. Harmonic dissonance contrasts the children's tragic deaths with the thirst for life in their writing. Conversely, Glick's 1998 composition Old Toronto Klezmer Suite, honoring his mother's memory and the remembered splendor of his childhood community, represents his fusion style and playful idealism.

In 1969, Glick became choir director at Toronto's Beth Tikvah, work he considered a labor of love, beauty, and inspiration. In 1978, he became the synagogue's composer-in-residence. While working as a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation producer, he also taught composition at York University and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. By the time of his death in 2002, Glick had written several hundred pieces of music.

[Deborah Hopper (2nd ed.)]

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