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Symposium: John P.L. Roberts, the CBC and music in Canada

Presented by the School of Creative and Performing Arts and Libraries and Cultural Resources of the University of Calgary,
and the Institute for Canadian Music of the University of Toronto

Oct. 1, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Oct. 2, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Husky Oil Great Hall, Rozsa Centre

*** Registrations are now closed ***

Oct. 1, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of International Music Day and World Music Week. Both events were coordinated by John Roberts in Canada in 1975.

This symposium is part of a series of events to mark the acquisition of the John P.L. Roberts fonds, housed in Special Collections of Libraries and Cultural Resources at the University of Calgary. It will reflect on John Roberts’s contributions to the development of music in Canada and beyond during the second half of the twentieth century.

Between 1957 and 1975, Roberts worked as a producer and served as ‘Head of CBC Radio Music’ in Toronto. Under his direction the CBC commissioned, performed and disseminated hundreds of works by Canadian composers. This remains an unprecedented achievement in the history of this country.

Roberts was also a close friend of Glenn Gould and facilitated Gould’s transition from concert pianist to ground breaking recording artist during the 1960s. During this period he was personally involved in bringing Stravinsky to Toronto on numerous occasions. In so doing, Roberts contributed to transforming Toronto from a cultural backwater in a crumbling empire into the city we know today.

Symposium topics include:

  • art and identity politics
  • building cultural infrastructure
  • aesthetic choices and compositional voices at the CBC
  • music and electronic media
  • the rise of Toronto as a cultural centre
  • John Roberts on the international scene