Udo Kasemts – Born in Estonia, migrated to Canada in 1951 – became a Canadian citizen in 1957. He taught at The Royal Hamilton College of Music as well as conductor of the Hamilton Conservatory Choir until 1957.
So far – sounds pretty middle-of-the-road. He composed orchestral, chamber, vocal and piano works and was well respected by his peers and the musical community in Canada.
And then he discovered John Cage. And in 1960 he abandoned everything he thought he knew about composition and devoted the rest of his life to Electroacoustic and Avant-garde music. So much so, that most of his early compositions no longer exist. Even this recording, part of a broadcast recital by violinist Arthur Garami and Charles Reiner from 1954 is nowhere mentioned in the Canadian Composers encyclopedia, except in the biography of violinist Arthur Garami, acknowledging his recording of the Sonata.
In 1962–63, Kasemets organized Toronto’s first new music series Men, Minds and Music, and established the Isaacs Gallery Mixed Media Concerts. In 1968, he directed the first Toronto Festival of Arts and Technology entitled SightSoundSystems and founded and edited a new music publication series, Canavangard. In 1971, Kasemets joined the Faculty of the Department of Experimental Art at the Ontario College of Art, where he taught until retiring in 1987. Udo Kasemets died in 2014.
This performance of the Sonata for Violin and Piano presumably comes right after its premier (around 1955), and judging from the rejection of his earlier work, may be the only recording of this piece.
Arthur Garami was a Hungarian violinist who already had a following when he migrated to Canada in 1949. He became a Canadian citizen in 1955. Charles Reiner, also from Hungary, migrated to Canada in 1951 and became a Canadian citizen in 1956. He has had a very impressive career as an accompanist, joining among many others, Henryk Szeryng on numerous world tours.
Something you may have missed or otherwise not be familiar with. That’s what we’re here for.