He was organist-choirmaster 1959-71 at the Cathedral Church of St Mark in Minneapolis and established there a concert series which gave the US premieres of a number of Canadian works, including Godfrey Ridout's Ascension, Keith Bissell's Advent Cantata, Eugene Hill's Concertino for organ and orchestra, and Bales' own Song of Creation (1974, a commission from St Mark's). Bales was injured during a robbery at the church and curtailed further performances. He taught organ, choral conducting, and orchestration at the University of Ottawa and was organist-choirmaster at Trinity Anglican Church from 1971 until 1984, when he moved to London, Ont. He was RCCO president 1980-82, and later honorary vice-president.
Bales was an associate of the CMCentre. His works, of which there are over 150, were initially influenced by Willan but later became more dissonant in idiom. Many have been conducted on CBC by Sir Ernest MacMillan, Victor Feldbrill, Elmer Iseler, and others, on such programs as Choral Concert (which broadcast Bales' Jubilate Deo 1998) and Mostly Music. He continued to compose in his later years, during which several works were published in the Egan and the Leslie choral series.
Bales was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1996. Tribute concerts were performed by the Gerald Fagan Singers in London, Ont, and at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa. Gerald Fagan described Bales as being 'on the cutting edge of tonality ... He is an avant-garde composer, a traditional composer who has stretched chord structure.' (London Free Press, 26 Oct 1996). The National Library of Canada holds the Gerald Bales fonds.
Toccata. 1946. Pf. BMIC 1947
Essay for Strings. 1947. Str orch. Ber (rental). RCI 6 (J.-M. Beaudet conductor)
Te Deum laudamus. 1962. SATB, organ, 3 trumpet, timpani. Wat 1968. Mastertone Recordings and Wat WR-8024. Record also includes Bales Festival Fanfare (1952, Summa 1971); Jubilate Deo (1965, Wat 1966); and Fanfare for Easter Day (1963, Ber 1966). See Discography
Petite Suite. 1963. Org. BMIC 1965. Sears SR-101568 /Wat WR-8024. See Discography. 1980? Saint Paul's Cathedral WRC-1-1328 (D.M. Games)
Psalm Cantata. 1965. SATB, organ, 3 trumpet, timpani, string orch. Ms
Song of Creation. 1974. SATB, orch. Ms
Toccata. 1975. Pf. Randall M. Eagan 1988
Sonatina 1978. Org. McKee 1980. 1983 Savvy Records S1001 (D.M. Games)
Pastorale on 'Capetown.' 1980. Org. GVT 1981
Two Pieces for Organ. 1986. Randall M. Eagan 1986
Several choral works published by Jay, Wat, Summa and Randall M. Eagan
Also a number of film and radio scores, other works for orch, piano, organ, and songs
Author Yves Chartier, Betty Nygaard King
Bales - Willan - Bach. Choir of the Cathedral Church of Saint Mark, P. Emch organ, Bales conductor. (1965). Mastertone Recording Co/(selections) Wat WR-8024
Gerald Bales at the Organ: Willan - France - Hill - Bales - Buxtehude - Walter - Stanley. 1964. Sears SR-101568/(selections) Wat WR-8024
Karam - Willan - et al. 1957. Mirrosonic DRE-1001-03
Sonic spectrum: Bales - Stanley - Walther - Willan. 1994. Intrada Music 9TR4-1
British and Canadian music for organ: Purcell - Wesley - Vaughan Williams - Walton - Elgar - Henderson - Willan - Bales. MVCD 1068
Thistle, Lauretta. 'Organ virtuoso now concentrates on composing and teaching,' MSc, 275, Jan-Feb 1974
Phillips, Edward. 'Neo-tonality or neo-atonality?: I Waited Patiently for the Lord by Gerald Bales,' CUMR, 4, 1983
- 'Gerald Bales: the organ works,' American Organist, vol 19, May 1985
Sims, Jane. 'Gerald Fagan Singers to salute London composer,' London Free Press, 26 Oct 1996
'Order of Canada composer laments work of a lifetime never given life,' Canadian Press Newswire, 6 July 1996
Dawes, Christopher. 'Pipevision: a few words with Gerald Bales,' Organ Alternatives, 16, Sep-Nov 1996
Crabtree, Alan R. 'Gerald Bales named Member of the Order of Canada,' Pipelines, Sep 1996
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