Timeline


1960s

The dawn of a new choral era in Vancouver

Vancouver Cantata Singers was first formed under the name the Philharmonic Choir in 1958. The first performance took place on February 6, 1959 at Christ…

Vancouver Cantata Singers was first formed under the name the Philharmonic Choir in 1958. The first performance took place on February 6, 1959 at Christ Church Cathedral with the choir performing Bach’s Mass in B Minor. This photo is our earliest, from our 1959 concert at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre featuring works by J.S. Bach and Benjamin Britten.

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Conductors


1958-1967

Hugh McLean

Hugh McLean, Canadian born, received his early musical training in Winnipeg and Vancouver. Later he went to England on scholarship, where he studied piano and…

Hugh McLean, Canadian born, received his early musical training in Winnipeg and Vancouver. Later he went to England on scholarship, where he studied piano and organ at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1951, he became organ scholar of King's College, Cambridge, and graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1956 with degrees in musicology and organ. He made his professional debut at the Royal Command Concert in November 1955 in the presence of Queen Elizabeth, playing the Malcolm Arnold Organ Concerto with Sir Adrian Boult and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. For many years he lived in Vancouver and was active in the musical life of the city. The Cantata Singers, which he founded in 1958, gave first performances of many important choral works, and the Hugh McLean Consort introduced much of the Baroque instrumental literature to Vancouver audiences. Hugh McLean was organist and choirmaster of Ryerson United Church from 1957 and a professor of organ, harpsichord and sacred music at the University of British Columbia from 1969. He resigned both positions in 1973 to take up a seven-year appointment of Dean of the Faculty of Music of The University of Western Ontario in London, the largest music school in Canada. In 1981 he resumed full-time teaching in the Faculty and the organistship of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, London, Ontario. As an organ recitalist, Mr. McLean has played in all the major Canadian centres as well as in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Minneapolis. In 1963, he undertook a series of recordings for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on historic organs of England, the Netherlands and the German Democratic Republic. He has also broadcast for the BBC in England, Swiss Radio and NHK Tokyo. In 1970 he was invited to play in Bach's church, St. Thomas's, Leipzig. Recent tours have taken him in 1972 to Switzerland, in 1975 to Finland and Norway, and in 1976 to Japan. During the 1980-81 season he was resident in Cambridge, England and gave many recitals in Britain and the Continent. In September 1982 he was chosen to inaugurate the large concert organ at the opening of Toronto's new Roy Thomson Hall, performing the Poulenc Concerto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis. Hugh McLean was well-known in Canada as a musicologist specializing in seventeenth and eighteenth century studies. He has published definitive editions of the organ works of Purcell and Krebs and wrote nineteen articles for the new edition of Grove' Dictionary. In 1977 his contribution to musicology in Canada was recognized by election to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada. Hugh McLean passed away peacefully on July 30, 2017 in Naples, FL.

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Commissioned
Pieces


  • May, 2018

    J. Morlock: TBD

  • November, 2010

    K. Fulton: Revolutions

  • February, 2009

    J. Nobles: Lux Aeterna