The music of Canadian composer Murray Adaskin this week, featuring violinist Andrew Dawes and pianist Bela Siki in Adaskin’s Canzona and Rondo, recorded in concert at the 1964 Jenuesses Musicales du Canada.
Dr. Murray Adaskin was a member of a distinguished Canadian family which includes Gordon Adaskin, painter; musician brothers the late John and Harry Adaskin; his late wife, Frances James, soprano.
Born in Toronto, March 28, 1906, where he started his musical studies, Adaskin continued further work in New York and Paris. Violinist for ten years with Toronto Symphony, Adaskin also studied composition with John Weinzweig, Charles Jones and Darius Milhaud.
Adaskin was appointed Head of the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan from 1952 to 1966 when he became Composer-in-Residence until 1972 (the first composer to receive this post at a Canadian university). Dr. Adaskin helped make Saskatoon a major centre for the performance of contemporary Canadian music by conducting the Saskatoon Symphony for five years, commissioning new works, and organizing concerts of Canadian music. He was appointed to the Canada Council from 1966-1969, and retired to Victoria in 1973 where he composed his final work in 2000.
Bela Siki was born in Hungary, where he was a student in Budapest of Leo Weiner and Ernest von Dohnányi at the Franz Liszt Music Academy. He moved to Switzerland in 1945, where he studied with Dinu Lipatti and won the 1948 Geneva Competition. His international solo career led him to perform on all five continents with distinguished conductors and orchestras.
In 1965, he moved to the United States, teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle; between 1980 and 1985 he taught at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, moving back to Seattle in 1985, where he taught until his retirement in 2001. He has made several recordings. He is also a teacher, and is often asked to be on the jury of international musical competitions such as Leeds, Geneva, and Bolzano.
Violinist, ANDREW DAWES was born in High River, Alberta. He has been acclaimed as recitalist, chamber musician and soloist throughout North and South America, Europe and the Orient. and been celebrated as “one of the most distinguished violinists Canada has ever produced” (Ottawa Citizen). After receiving the Prix de Virtuosite from the Conservatoire in Geneva, Switzerland with the highest marks ever awarded, he became a founding member and first violinist of the Orford String Quartet for 26 years (1965-1991). He gave nearly 3,000 concerts on 6 continents and made more than 60 recordings. In 1992 Professor Dawes was appointed to the faculty of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver to teach violin and chamber music. Previously he taught at the University of Toronto for over 20 years. In 1995-96, he took a leave of absence from UBC to perform as first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet playing on a Stradivarius violin that was made in 1727 and belonged to Nicolo Paganini.
Hit the Play button and enjoy – it’s a bit short (8 minutes) but it’s charming.