Former USask composer-in-residence Murray Adaskin composes at his piano in 1957. (Photo: Gordon R. Sisson/A-4099)

Uniquely USask: Adaskin collection gives insight into Canadian composer

A collection of items in the University Library deepens the university’s connection to one of Canada’s most respected composers.

The University Library holds extensive materials relating to the life and work of Murray Adaskin, a composer, teacher and musician who served as head of the USask Department of Music from 1952–66. Adaskin was also USask’s composer-in-residence—the first appointment of its kind at a Canadian university—from 1966–73.

“I would suggest he was one of the leading composers in Canada. There’s no question,” said Dr. Walter Kreyszig (PhD), professor emeritus in the Department of Music.

Born in Toronto in 1906, Adaskin was a violinist with the Toronto Symphony before he began studying under influential composers in Toronto and the United States in the 1940s. He earned a name as a composer during his years in Saskatoon and continued his prolific output of music after retiring to Victoria.

In addition to his legacy as a composer, Adaskin had a large influence on music education in Saskatchewan and on the growth of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. He played a major role in bringing Canada’s only quartet of Amati instruments to USask.

Read the complete story at USask news.

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