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Arnold Walter

DR. ARNOLD WALTER, O.C. (b. Hannsdorf, Moravia, 30 Aug. 1902; d. Toronto, Ontario, 6 Oct. 1973). He received his doctorate in law from Prague University in 1926. In Berlin he studied musicology at the University and worked as a music journalist. Among his teachers were Bruno Weigl and Frederick Lamond. After an unsettling period in war-torn Spain (1933-36), he escaped to England and at length arrived in Canada in 1937, joining the teaching staff of Upper Canada College in Toronto.

Walter's Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano (1940), which won the Canadian Performing Rights Society award in 1943, is in a traditional four-movement form with rigourous thematic development, including fugal treatment; stylistically it is in the tradition of Brahms' classical romanticism. His Sonata for Piano (1950) is atonal, built on a motif of an ascending augmented fourth and three descending semitones that appear throughout the work in various forms. This work is similar to the early atonal pieces of Hindemith. His Concerto for Orchestra (1958) is in a concerto-grosso form employing dissonant tonalities. This work is tumultuous with fragmented thematic treatment.

From 1945 to 1952 Walter was director of the Royal Conservatory Senior School, during which time he founded the Opera School of the Conservatory (1946). From 1952 to 1968 he was director of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, later continuing as professor and special lecturer. He was chairman of the editorial board of the Canadian Music Journal (1956-62) and in 1965 he founded the Canadian Association of University Schools of Music, becoming its first president. He was founding member of the board of trustees of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. In 1967 he received an honourary Doctor of Music degree from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. Other honours have included the Christian Culture Award from Assumption University (1945), the National Award in Music from the University of Alberta (1958), and the Award of Merit of the Corporation of the City of Toronto 'for distinguished public services' (1971). In 1971 he was created Companion of the Order of Canada.

Contemporary Canadian Composers; Edited by Keith MacMillan, John Beckwith; Published: Oxford University Press, 1975. p. 229.


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