Canadian Classical Musicians

Classical music is a beautiful form of human expression, characterized by sophisticated instrumentals and vocals. It’s also a genre noted for its use of complex orchestration, harmony, rhythm, phrasing, texture, form, and counterpoint.

As an integral part of Canadian culture, classical music enjoys widespread popularity. The Great White North has numerous ensembles, as well as Baroque and Chamber orchestras. These include:

  • I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra
  • New Orford String Quartet
  • Les Violons du Roy
  • Quatuor Bozzini
  • Toronto Symphony Orchestra
  • National Arts Centre Orchestra
  • Calgary Philharmonic

Classical music comes with a few benefits too. Studies have shown that it enhances productivity, reduces stress, and strengthens memory.

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Instrumentalists and Opera Singers

This genre of music includes composers, instrumentalists, opera singers, and many more. Here are a few remarkable artists:

Antonio Alberto García Guerrero (1886 - 1959)

As a Chilean-Canadian pianist, teacher, and composer, Guerrero was known for his unconventional musical philosophy. He played in various ensembles throughout his lifetime and covered the neglected works of Mozart, Bach, and others.

Guerrero also mentored some of the greatest 20th-century classical musicians. These include Stuart Hamilton, Glenn Gould, and Raymond Murray Schafer, who composed “In Memoriam Alberto Guerrero” to honour the icon’s memory.

Bruce Mather (1939-)

Bruce Mather is an award-winning composer, pianist, and writer. He’s known for his contributions to contemporary classical music, microtonal compositions, and literature. Mather also taught at a few prestigious musical schools and nurtured many well-known Canadian musicians like Jacques Desjardins, Peter Allen, and Donald Steven.

Portia May White (1911 - 1968)

As a contralto, Portia May White became the first black Canadian woman to achieve international prestige. She trained at the Halifax Conservatory of Music and received critical acclaim in the early 1940s.

White’s debut performances of classical European and African-American spiritual music put her on the map. The Canadian government later dubbed her “a person of national historical significance.”

Martin Beaver (1967-)

Martin Beaver was a student of notable teachers like Victor Danchenko and Henryk Szeryng. He has also taught at reputable institutions around the country and continues to do so. He’s known as the first violinist in the Tokyo String Quartet.

Up-and-Coming Musicians

Classical music thrives in Canada, with emerging talent on all fronts, such as the following:

Elizabeth Skinner

Elizabeth Skinner is a violinist who’s part of two ensembles. She has also played in the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

Jonelle Sills

As a soprano, Jonelle Sills sang as “Mimì” in Puccini's La bohème and Claude Vivier's Kopernikus, productions by Against the Grain Theatre.

Devin Huang

Devin Huang is a 13-year old pianist who’s come first in his category three years in a row at the annual Canadian Music Competition.

Jessica Yuma

Jessica Yuma is a teenage pianist who’s won prizes at the Steinway Young Artists Competition and the Canadian Music Competition National Final, among others.

Great White North Gems

Classical music is diverse and deeply embedded in Canadian culture. From instrumentalists and opera singers to rising stars, these musicians continue to grace the Great White North and the world with their exceptional talent.

8 Jul 2021