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Music Archives at the National Library of Canada

MUS 154

John Weinzweig fonds.  - 1921-1999.  - 7.14 m of textual records.  - 63 photographs.  - 97 audio tape reels.  - 50 audio discs.  - 25 audio tape cassettes.  - 4 videocassettes. 

Biographical sketch
Born in Toronto to parents of Polish Jewish origin, John Weinzweig studied numerous musical instruments during his adolescence.  At age 19, he began studying composition and in 1938 obtained a Master's degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.  He began his career as a private teacher and composer of incidental music for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and film music for the National Film Board of Canada.  In 1951, he founded with Samuel Dolin and Harry Somers the Canadian League of Composers, of which he was President until 1957.  He also worked as a teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and, for more than 25 years, at the University of Toronto.  Composer of the first Canadian serial work (Suite No. 1) in 1939 and promoter of contemporary music, Weinzweig opened the door for the next generation of Canadian composers striving for innovation.  He composed a number of important works including Wine of Peace for soprano and orchestra, Symphony, Symphonic Ode and Dummiyah/Silence for large orchestra.  He was awarded several honours including Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974. 

Scope and content
The fond consists of records pertaining to John Weinzweig's professional activities.  The numerous manuscripts of Weinzweig's works show a prolific and versatile artist with multiple inspirations. The files of organizations such as the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian League of Composers further illustrate the artist's dedication to the cause of music and the establishment of structures fostering the creation and distribution of Canadian music. 

The fond contains personal and professional correspondence; autographed manuscript scores of works for large orchestra, string orchestra, ballet, film, radio and band; files concerning Weinzweig's activities with the Canadian League of Composers, the Canadian Music Centre and other organizations; lectures and correspondence regarding the Symposium of Canadian Music held in Vancouver in March 1950; articles on Weinzweig; notebooks of drafts and compositions; course notes and other teaching material; concert programmes; diplomas; lecture texts; promotional and financial records; press clippings; material concerning Morris Weinzweig, including a war journal; photographs of Weinzweig and members of his family; sound recordings consisting of radio documentaries and Weinzweig's works performed by, among others, Steven Dann, David Owens, Stuart Laughton, Catherine Lewis and John Weinzweig; and videocassettes including a recording of Divertimento No. 8 and an interview at the University of Western Ontario. 

Immediate source of acquisition:  acquired from John Weinzweig in several accessions between 1984 and 1999. 

Restrictions:  none. 

Finding aids:  inventory for the first accession; provisional description. 

Accruals:  further accessions expected. 

Proactive Disclosure