A history of orchestras in Ottawa from 1894 to 1960


Begg, Debra Ann.




The purpose of this thesis is to trace the history of the major orchestras which were formed in Ottawa from 1894 to 1960, and which eventually evolved into our present-day Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Chapter one gives background material on Canada and the early history of the city of Ottawa, thus providing the cultural setting from which the orchestras emerged. Each succeeding chapter deals with a new orchestra which was created under the baton of a different conductor. Chapters two to six draw upon a research paper entitled Ottawa Symphony Orchestras 1894- 1941 which I completed for course 30.511, April, 1978. Several aspects which have been considered with regard to the different orchestras are: size and personnel, support or patronage, nature of the repertoire, quality of performances, guest artists, inclusion of Canadian compositions, children's concerts and the value of the orchestra to the community. A study such as this will furnish an insight into the cultural interests and musical activities of the Ottawa community which may, in turn, be compared to conditions which existed in other Canadian cities thus giving us a better view of the overall musical/cultural scene in Canada. My research was greatly facilitated by a discovery at the Ottawa Public Library of the early programs given by Ottawa Symphony Orchestras from 1894 to 1927. Other important sources were concert reviews from The Ottawa Citizen and Records of the Women's Committee of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. 


Orchestra -- Ontario -- Ottawa




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Canadian Studies

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Theses and Dissertations

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