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Morris Surdin

MORRIS SURDIN (1914-1979) was born and raised in Toronto. At a young age he taught himself to play the piano before beginning formal instruction in the violin, harmony and counterpoint. He later also learned to play the 'cello, trombone and French horn. By the time he was 16 and a student at Harbord Collegiate, he conducted his own dance band and simultaneously wrote and arranged music for the school music department. He joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1937 only to be fired in a labour dispute and hired back on a casual basis as a free-lance conductor-arranger.

His Canadian successes led to his spending a number of years in New York composing music for radio shows such as The Voice of Victor, Once Upon a Tune, Ace and Jane, as well as for other plays and musicals. After several years of commuting between New York and Toronto where he was musical director and conductor of the renowned CBC Stage Series for many years, his desire to be near his wife and friends brought him home. Back in Canada, he wrote music for the CBC and the National Film Board, W.O. Mitchell's Jake and the Kid radio series, Hatch's Mill, a major part of Seaway for television, the film score for Hospital starring George C. Scott, "The Remarkable Rocket" performed by the National Ballet, the Stratford Festival and wrote major works for symphony, flute, viola and free-bass accordion.

In 1978 he was honoured by the acquisition of his entire musical library by the University of Calgary.


University of Calgary Special Collections

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Canadian Music Centre