Education and Early Career
In 1937 Weinzweig showed his scores to the composer Howard Hanson, the director of the Eastman School of Music, who was in Toronto for a conducting engagement. Hanson encouraged Weinzweig to enrol at Eastman which, unlike the University of Toronto of that day, offered courses in 20th-century music. There, Weinzweig studied orchestration and composition with Bernard Rogers, conducting with Paul White, string bass with Nelson Watson, and was exposed to much new music not yet accepted in Toronto. Two works in particular, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Berg's Lyric Suite, caught his attention, the former for its rhythmic potency and the latter for its melodic and motivic use of the 12-tone row.
Weinzweig's First Use of Serialism
Weinzweig's fascination with these matters was reflected in the works composed after his return to Toronto in 1938 and before his RCAF service, 1943-5. The second movement of his Suite for Piano No. 1 (1939), his first (and the first Canadian) music to explore serial technique, used the 12-tone row, occasionally whole but more often as a source of motivic fragments. In other works of those years - the Symphony (1940) and the Sonata (1941) for violin - the row is used as the basis for long, flowing melodies but is rarely employed in chordal formations. Evident everywhere are the rhythmic vitality and motivic organization that were to function so effectively in Weinzweig's later work. Weinzweig introduced these principles and other concepts of 20th-century composition to his pupils at the Toronto Conservatory of Music, where he taught 1939-43 and 1945-60. His music received some performances, although the works chosen, including String Quartet No. 1 and The Enchanted Hill, represented a style he was fast repudiating.
Incidental Music, Film Scores and Ballet
In 1941 Weinzweig began composing incidental music for CBC Radio and film scores for the National Film Board. His work for such series as New Homes for Old, White Empire, and Jalna, some 100 programs in all, introduced Toronto musicians and Canadian radio audiences to an amount of modern music that would have been resented in concert situations. This permitted Weinzweig to experiment and to develop the lean, resilient technique that proved so durable an asset. Some of this radio music found a place in the orchestral suites Our Canada and Edge of the World. Weinzweig gradually lost interest in radio and film, however; the last of his half-dozen scores for the National Film Board dates from 1945, and the last of his radio drama scores from 1951. In 1949 his ballet Red Ear of Corn, choreographed by Boris Volkoff, was premiered 2 March in Toronto at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. The orchestral suite from the ballet is one of the composer's most frequently played works.
In the early 1950s, Weinzweig turned exclusively to concert music, although seldom to full-scale orchestral works. With the exception of the Violin Concerto, Wine of Peace, the Piano Concerto, Dummiyah/Silence, and Divertimentos No. 8 and 9, few of his works require more than a chamber orchestra.
The years immediately following the war were among his most prolific, resulting in Divertimento No. 1 (which won the silver medal in chamber music at the 1948 Olympics), Divertimento No. 2, String Quartet No. 2, the Cello Sonata 'Israel', and Suite for Piano No. 2. In 1951, with two former pupils, Samuel Dolin and Harry Somers, Weinzweig established the Canadian League of Composers (CLComp), and the League's first concert, 16 May 1951, was devoted to his works. Weinzweig served 1951-7 as president of the League and was appointed to the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto in 1952. Because his new duties took much of his time, he reduced his compositional output in the mid-1950s. Nevertheless, the few products of these years, notably the Violin Concerto and Wine of Peace, are among his most personal and complex scores.
As president of the Canadian League of Composers he presented a brief to the Fowler Commission on Broadcasting in 1957 and, with John Beckwith, prepared the Canadian Music Council brief to the Canada Council that resulted in the formation of the Canadian Music Centre. After 1957 Weinzweig balanced his organizational efforts with teaching and composing. During a second term as president of the Canadian League of Composers, 1959-63, he represented Canada at European and Central American conferences. He also served 1973-5 as president of the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada (CAPAC). During this time he composed about one piece annually, each the result of a commission, generally from the CBC.
Performances in New York in 1943 and 1947, in Prague in 1947, in London in 1956 (a BBC broadcast of the Violin Concerto conducted by Boyd Neel with Frederick Grinke as soloist), and in Israel in 1960 and 1964 were indicative of the growing international recognition accorded Weinzweig's works. Some of his scores were published by Boosey & Hawkes, Oxford, Leeds, and others, and for some he was his own publisher (eg, the choral work 'To the Lands Over Yonder,' and the Woodwind Quintet).
The Later Works
In all Weinzweig's works, however varied the problems engaged or the solutions offered, qualities remain that have characterized Weinzweig's music since 1939: clarity of texture; economy of material; rhythmic energy; tight motivic organization, usually but not slavishly controlled through serialism; short melodic outbursts contrasted with long flowing lines; and harmonies that, though often harsh, never fully lose their tonal orientation. The tonal references are more likely to be modal suggestions, or progressions blurred by added pitches, than recollections from Western common practice. Weinzweig once said, speaking of his (mainly unhappy) undergraduate years: 'No one ever explained tonality to me.' The core of his compositional output is the series of 12 divertimentos, four of them written after 1982 (see Concertos and concertante music).
Radical or Romantic?
Weinzweig was called a 'radical romantic' by a magazine interviewer in 1981, and the phrase was adopted by Larry Weinstein as the title of the documentary film on the composer, premiered in 1989, which Weinstein directed for Rhombus Media. It emphasizes two balancing aspects of his aesthetic. The composer not only championed advanced, new, and unpopular styles and methods in his compositions, but was motivated as well by democratic and co-operative models in his activities with organizations such as the Canadian League of Composers. Humanitarian instincts and beliefs are moreover the basis for some of his strongest creative statements: examples are the orchestral songs Wine of Peace, dedicated 'to the United Nations, where the dreams of mankind for peace on earth become a reality'; the orchestral work Dummiyah, described by Richard Henninger as a study in 'silence framed by sound,' and by the composer as a reaction to the horrors of the Nazi holocaust; and 'Prisoner of Conscience,' dedicated to Amnesty International, one of the a capella Choral Pieces. But alongside his unrepentant modernism and concentrated fervour one finds humour - especially in the late works, inspired partly by his interest in Satie and the Dadaists - and a recognizable streak of the North American vernacular: from the 'swing' motives of Divertimento No. 3, where the solo bassoon impersonates a 'cool' saxophone, through the extended concert-band piece Out of the Blues, and a slow blues movement in the Divertimento No. 9, to the hilarious ragtime finale of the Divertimento No. 8, echoes of the mid-century pop-music vocabulary persist; such solo works as Riffs, its title taken from jazz, and Refrains, further explore the vein.
Two chamber works of the 1960s perhaps sum up the radical/romantic dichotomy. In the String Quartet No. 3, an extended five-movement elegy, the long brooding lines, their rhythms often intricately subdivided, eventually coalesce in a quiet unison C. The Woodwind Quintet, by contrast, assumes the character of a quirky five-way conversation. On closer scrutiny, the materials of both works are deliberately selected to bring out these different traits. Elaine Keillor (in a study published in 1994) identifies three versions of a 12-tone set in the quartet, exhibiting respectively 4, 5, and 5 semitones; whereas the set for the quintet consists of 4 arrangements of the same 3-note cell, containing a minor third and a semitone (the intervals of a familiar blues formula).
Orchestral and Chamber Music
An overview of Weinzweig's creative directions reveals his early attraction for the orchestra giving way to the dramatic oppositions of the solo-vs-small orchestra divertimenti or to quasi-classical chamber-music media. The Cello Sonata ('Israel') and the Piano Sonata offer early evidence of the dichotomy noted above - the one passionate, eloquent, and lyrical, the other neat, quirky, and humourful in an almost Scarlattian way.
In the works of the 1960s, the classical three-movement format of the String Quartet No. 2, the Piano Sonata, the Violin Concerto, and early divertimenti is set aside in favour of 'freer shapes articulated in repetitive, almost ritualistic, gestures' (John Beckwith, "John Weinzweig at seventy," 1983). At the same time, there is a new emphasis on timbral experiment, especially in the Harp Concerto and Divertimento No. 4.
Elements of Theatre
Surprisingly (to some observers), Weinzweig moved in the direction of quasi-theatrical action-pieces starting in 1970 with Around the Stage in 25 Minutes During Which a Variety of Instruments Are Struck, for solo percussion, and continuing with Trialogue, Impromptus for piano, the song-cycle Private Collection, and Pieces of 5 for brass quintet. Though Weinzweig composed no operas, his strong sense of dramatic effect is well shown in these theatrical and game-like works, some of which contain quotations from his own earlier music and from standard musical literature. As with the early vocal cycle Of Time and the World, Weinzweig devised his own text for Private Collection, as also for the later set of seven Choral Pieces. He declared his motive in the latter case was his frustration at never being able to hear the text clearly in choral music - a clue to the rhythmic and syllabic treatment found in the pieces. Helen Weinzweig, the composer's wife, was a novelist and story-writer, and her crisp, often parodic style influenced him, though they never formally collaborated.
1970s to 2006
The late 1970s and the 1980s - an unusually productive period for Weinzweig - brought cycles or chains of shorter pieces investigating solo instrumental media: the bass, the viola, the piano, and especially the guitar (18 Pieces) and the harp (15 Pieces). The now-familiar thumbprints of whimsical humour, sweet-and-low pop-music echoes, and the occasional contrasting depths of passion and audacity, are now merged in a continuity of sheer fantasy. The above elements were controlled always by the composer's insistence on the precise rhythmic moment, the precise timbral inflection, and (particularly) the precise time to stop. The Duologue (for 2 pianos) was a fresh surprise: an extended single movement reflecting the characteristic conversational materials, but with an unexpected harmonic richness.
Weinzweig remained an active composer throughout his eighties. A major addition to his œuvre was the Divertimento No. 12 (1998), bringing the series to an even dozen, and including in its fantasia-like sequence of sections remembrances of several of the earlier divertimentos. In the 1990s, a number of quasi-theatrical scores for two, three, or four solo voices with piano continued the vein begun in Trialogue 20 years before: a succession of contemporary conversational fragments, set to self-compiled texts, whose style often revealed a debt to Dada. Walking-Talking is a Toronto street scene, Le Rendez-vous depicts a trio of tourists in Italy and Spain; the scores incorporate brief stage directions. The most ambitious of these works, the monodrama Journey Out of Night, adds a lighting scheme. Here, in contrast to the often flippant tone of the other vocal scores, the lone mezzo-soprano soloist more sombrely conveys 'dream fantasies, that erupt into a prophecy of a world doomed to vanish into darkness and stillness.' At length, 'to assuage her fears, [she] turns the prophecy to hope.'
If the 1990s failed to diminish Weinzweig's creativity, they also scarcely lessened his efforts on behalf of the Canadian new-music repertoire. In a letter to the Toronto Star (9 July 2000), he reiterated his protest over CBC Radio's neglect of Canadian classical works in favour of European past masters, calling it 'this shameful imbalance.' Lobbying that he spearheaded was largely responsible for the inauguration of the Portraits and Ovations recording series by CBC Records and Centrediscs in the late 1990s. As late as the spring of 2004, he continued to be a vocal presence at meetings of SOCAN and the Canadian League of Composers - a 'tireless promoter,' in the words of a March 2003 interviewer.
During his long career Weinzweig was accorded many tributes. His music, with that of Serge Garant, formed the first release of RCI's Anthology of Canadian Music series. In 1973 his 60th birthday was observed by the CBC in a radio documentary prepared by Lothar Klein and in a public concert (1 Feb 1973) partly conducted by the composer, and by the Canada Music Book in a special Weinzweig issue (Spring-Summer 1973). Ten years later (6 Mar 1983) New Music Concerts presented a celebration concert, published the booklet John Weinzweig at Seventy, and commissioned a chalk portrait and pencil sketches of Weinzweig by the noted Canadian artist Harold Town. Also in 1983, the Toronto Symphony commissioned the Divertimento No. 9 both in recognition of the birthday milestone and for the opening season of its new home, Roy Thomson Hall. On 19 Mar 1988 the Esprit Orchestra presented Divertimento No. 3 and Divertimento No. 8 in a concert to mark his 75th birthday.
Weinzweig's music, his organizational efforts on behalf of Canadian composers, and certainly also his teaching have had a permanent effect on Canada's musical life. He retired from the University of Toronto in 1978 but during the 1980s continued to give occasional seminars, workshops, and residencies on his own works there and at other institutions. His students included Murray Adaskin, Lorne Betts, Howard Cable, Samuel Dolin, Harry Freedman, Jack Kane, Mavor Moore, Phil Nimmons, Kenneth Peacock, Harry Somers, and Andrew Twa in the 1940s; Milton Barnes, John Beckwith, Norma Beecroft, Gustav Ciamaga, Anne Eggleston, Srul Irving Glick, Walter Kemp, Alfred Kunz, Edward Laufer, Bruce Mather, R. Murray Schafer, Jack Sirulnikoff, and Kenny Wheeler in the 1950s; Robert Aitken, Brian Cherney, John Fodi, Clifford Ford, Richard Henninger, Paul Pedersen, Doug Riley, and Fred Stone in the 1960s; and Kristi Allik, Robert Bauer, Gary J. Hayes, and David Jaeger in the 1970s.
Weinzweig was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974 and a member of the Order of Ontario in 1988. He was awarded the Canadian Music Council Medal in 1978. In 1981 the Canadian League of Composers designated him 'president emeritus' and he was the first composer to be awarded the Molson Prize. In 1991 he was the first composer to receive the Roy Thomson Hall Award. In 1998 he received the Toronto Arts Award for music, and in 2004 the SOCAN life achievement award. His 90th birthday in 2003 was marked by New Music Concerts by the commission and first performance of Prologue to a Tango, and by the National Arts Centre Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey in an Ottawa concert featuring Divertimento No. 1 and Dummiyah. Weinzweig was an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.
4 scores for National Film Board films: North West Frontier; West Wind: The Story of Tom Thomson; The Great Canadian Shield; Turner Valley. 1941-5. Manuscript
Red Ear of Corn, ballet. 1949 (Toronto 1949). Medium orchestra. Manuscript.
Over 100 CBC Radio drama scores, including Riel; Jalna; White Empire
Orchestra and Band
Legend. 1937. Full orchestra. Manuscript
The Enchanted Hill. 1938 (Rochester 1938). Full orchestra. Manuscript
Suite. 1938 (Rochester 1938). Full orchestra. Manuscript
Symphony. 1940. Full orchestra. Manuscript
Rhapsody for Orchestra. 1941 (Toronto 1957). Manuscript
Interlude in an Artist's Life. 1943 (Toronto 1944). String orchestra. Leeds 1961. Radio Canada International Anthology of Canadian Music 1 (Toronto Symphony Orchestra, MacMillan conductor)
Our Canada. 1943 (Toronto 1943). Medium orchestra. Manuscript. Radio Canada International 41 (Toronto Symphony Orchestra, MacMillan conductor)
Band-Hut Sketches. 1944 (Toronto 1944). Band. Manuscript
Edge of the World. 1946 (Toronto 1946). Medium orchestra. Leeds 1967. CBC SM-163 (CBC Winnipeg Orchestra, Wild conductor)
Red Ear of Corn (suite). 1949 (Toronto 1951). Medium orchestra. Manuscript. 1967. CBC SM-345/Furiant FMDC 4602-2 (National Arts Centre Orchestra, Bernardi conductor); ['Barn Dance'] Dominion LPS-21024/Columbia MS-6763/Citadel CT-6011 (Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra, Susskind conductor)
Round Dance. 1950 (Toronto 1950). Medium orchestra. Manuscript. Arranged for band by Cable: Leeds 1966 RCA PCS-1004/Citadel CT-6007 (Cable conductor)
Symphonic Ode. 1958 (Saskatoon 1959). Full orchestra. Leeds 1962. (1969). Louisville LS-76-6/Furiant FMDC 4602-2 (Louisville Orchestra, Mester conductor)
Dummiyah/Silence. 1969 (Toronto 1969). Full orchestra. Manuscript. 2-Radio Canada International 477/Canadian Music Centre-CD 8002-2 (Orchester der Beethovenhalle, Boris Brott conductor)
Out of the Blues. 1981. Concert band. Manuscript. UTWS 9501 (U of T Wind Symphony, Chenette conductor)
Divertimento No. 9. 1982. (Toronto 1983). Full orchestra. Manuscript
Soloist(s) with Orchestra
Spectre. 1938 (Toronto 1939). Timpani, string orchestra. Manuscript
A Tale of Tuamotu. 1939. Bassoon, orchestra. Manuscript
Divertimento No. 1. 1946 (Vancouver 1946). Flute, string orchestra. Boosey & Hawkes 1950. Radio Canada International 182/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1 (Day flute, CBC Symphony Orchestra, Feldbrill conductor)/Dominion S-69006 (Aitken flute, Weinzweig conductor)
Divertimento No. 2. 1948 (Toronto 1948). Ob, string orchestra. Boosey & Hawkes 1951. Radio Canada International 86/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1(Bauman oboe, Waddington conductor)/('Finale') Marquis MAR-104 (L. Cherney)
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. 1951-4 (Toronto 1955). Violin, orchestra. Manuscript. Radio Canada International 183/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1/Canadian Music Centre-CD 8002-2 (Pratz, CBC Symphony Orchestra, Waddington conductor)
Wine of Peace (Calderon de la Barca, translated A. Symons, anonymous). 1957 (Toronto 1958). Sop, orchestra. Manuscript 1957. Radio Canada International 182/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1/Furiant FMDC 4602-2 (Simmons, CBC Symphony Orchestra, Susskind conductor)
Divertimento No. 3. 1960 (Toronto 1961). Bassoon, string orchestra. Leeds 1963. CBC SM-15/SBC SM-317/Furiant FMDC 4602-2 (Zuckerman, CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, Avison conductor)
Divertimento No. 5. 1961 (Pittsburgh 1961). Trumpet, trombone, winds. Leeds 1969. Radio Canada International 292/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1 (Deslauriers conductor)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. 1966 (Toronto 1966). Manuscript. CBC SM-104/Furiant FMDC 4602-2 (Helmer, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Feldbrill conductor)
Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orchestra. 1967 (Toronto 1967). Leeds 1969. CBC SM-55/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1/Furiant FMDE 4602-2 (Loman harp, Toronto Repertory Ensemble, Barnes conductor)
Divertimento No. 4. 1968 (Toronto 1968). Clarinet, string orchestra. Manuscript. CBC SM-134 (Barnes conductor)
Divertimento No. 6. 1972 (Toronto 1972). Alto saxophone, string orchestra. Manuscript
Divertimento No. 7. 1979 (Vancouver 1980). Horn, string orchestra. Manuscript
Divertimento No. 8. 1980. (Toronto 1989). Tuba, orchestra. Manuscript
Divertimento No. 10. 1988. (Toronto 1989). Piano, string orchestra. Manuscript
Divertimento No. 11. 1990 (Hamilton 1990). English horn, string orchestra. Manuscript. Canadian Music Centre-CD 5295 (L. Cherney, Feldbrill conductor)
Divertimento No. 12. 1998 (Hamilton 1998). Woodwind quintet, string orchestra. Manuscript
String Quartet No. 1. 1937. Manuscript. (2nd movement) Radio Canada International 12 (Parlow String Quartet)
Fanfare. 1943. 3 trumpet, 3 trombone, percussion. Manuscript
Intermissions. 1943. Flute, oboe. Southern Music Publishers 1964
String Quartet No. 2. 1946. Manuscript. Columbia MS-6364 (Canadian String Quartet)
Cello Sonata 'Israel.' 1949 (Toronto 1950). Violincello, piano. Manuscript. CBC EXPO-14/Radio Canada International 209/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1 (W. Joachim, Newmark); Artemis AMP-CD 96001 (Stellings, Paskaruk)
String Quartet No. 3. 1962 (Toronto 1963). Manuscript. Radio Canada International 362/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1; Canadian Music Centre-CD 8002-3 (Orford String Quartet)
Woodwind Quintet. 1964 (Toronto 1965). Self-published 1975. Radio Canada International 218/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1/RCA CCS-1012/Canadian Music Centre-CD 8002-3 (Toronto Woodwind Quintet)
Clarinet Quartet. 1965 (Detroit 1965). 4 clarinet. Leeds 1970. Dominion S-69004 (Galper, McCartney, Fetherston, Temoin)
Around the Stage in 25 Minutes During Which a Variety of Instruments Are Struck. 1970 (Toronto 1970). Solo percussion. Manuscript. Original title, Timbres
Trialogue (Weinzweig). 1971. Soprano, flute, piano. Manuscript
Riffs. 1974 (Toronto 1974). Flute. Manuscript
Contrasts. 1976 (Toronto 1978). Guit. Manuscript. 1982. Centrediscs Canadian Music Centre-0582/Radio Canada International 566/Canadian Music Centre CD 0582 (Candelaria)
Pieces of Five. 1976 (Toronto 1976), revised 1991. Brass quintet. Manuscript. 1981. 2-Music Gallery Editions MGE-34 (Composers Brass Group); Canadian Music Centre-CD 8002-3 (Canadian Brass)
Refrains. 1977 (Toronto 1978). Double-bass, piano. Manuscript. Canadian Music Centre-CD 5295 (Quarrington)
Variations for Louis Applebaum. 1980 (Toronto 1980). Brass quintet. Manuscript
18 Pieces for Guitar. 1980 (Toronto 1983). Manuscript. [selections:] PAL 01110 (Candelaria)
15 Pieces for Harp. 1983 (New York 1984). Manuscript. CBC Musica Viva MV-1029 (Loman)
Music Centre Serenade. 1984 (Toronto 1984). Flute, horn, viola, violoncello. Manuscript
Conversations for Three Guitars. 1984 (Toronto 1987). Manuscript
Cadenza. 1986 (Toronto 1988). Clarinet. Manuscript. Canadian Music Centre-CD 4392 (Campbell)
Birthday Notes. 1987 (Toronto 1987). Flute, piano. Manuscript
Tremologue. 1987 (Toronto 1989). Viola. Manuscript. Canadian Music Centre-CD 5295 (Dann)
Jammin'. 1991 (Toronto 1991). 16 instruments
Riffs II. 1991 (Toronto 1992). Trombone. solo
Riffs III. 1992. Trumpet. solo
Belaria. 1992. Solo violin or viola or violincello
Arctic Shadows. 1993. Oboe, piano (arranged from Edge of the World)
Swing Out (Animations and ruminations on a double reed). 1995. Solo Bassoon
Interplay: 12 dialogues. 1998. Piccolo, tuba, piano
Duo. 1999. 2 violins
Suite for Piano No. 1. 1939 (Toronto 1940). Manuscript [1st movement], Frederick Harris Music Co Ltd 1955 (in 14 Piano Pieces by Canadian Composers); [2nd movement] Canadian Musical Heritage 1986 (in Piano Music II)
Improvisations on an Indian Tune. 1942 (New York 1942). Organ. Manuscript
Swing a Fugue. 1949. Piano. Manuscript
Melos. 1949. Piano. Manuscript
Piano Sonata. 1950 (Toronto 1951). Cramer 1981. CBC SM-162 (Buczynski)/Elaine Keillor WRC1-3315 (Keillor)
Suite for Piano No. 2. 1950 (Toronto 1950). Oxford University Press 1956/65 [3rd movement:] Frederick Harris Music Co Ltd 1988 (in Piano Repertoire Album 7)
Impromptus. 1973 (Toronto 1974). Piano. Manuscript
CanOn Stride. 1986 (Toronto 1987). Piano. In Beckwith and Hall eds. Musical Canada: Words and Music Honoring Helmut Kallmann (Toronto 1988)
Tango for Two. 1986 (revised 1987). Piano (harp). Manuscript
Micromotions (20 pieces). 1988 (Ottawa 1989). Piano. Manuscript
3 Pieces for piano. 1989 (Toronto 1989). Piano. Manuscript
Duologue. 1990 (Toronto 1991). 2 piano. Manuscript
Diversions. 1994. Piano. Manuscript
7 Piano Duets. 2000. Manuscript
Netscapes. 2000. Piano. Manuscript
Playnotes (8 pieces). 2000. Piano. Manuscript
Swing time. 2000. Piano. Manuscript
'To the Lands Over Yonder' (Inuit). 1945. SATB. Frederick Harris Music Co Ltd 1953. Self-published 1974
'Of Time and the World' (Weinzweig). 1947. Voice, piano. Manuscript. Radio Canada International 20/5-Anthology of Canadian Music 1 (James, Moss)
'Dance of the Masada' (I. Lamdan). 1951. Baritone, piano. Manuscript. RCA LSC-3092 (Fine, Reiner)/Master MA-275 (D. Mills, Mutter)
'Am Yisrael Chai!'/'Israel Lives!' (Malka Lee, English translated Weinzweig). 1952. SATB, piano. Leeds 1964
Trialogue (Weinzweig). 1971 (Toronto 1971). Soprano, flute, piano. Manuscript
Private Collection (Weinzweig) 1975 (Toronto 1977). Soprano, piano. Manuscript. Centrediscs Canadian Music Centre-0582 (Fallis, Gaylord)
Choral Pieces (7 pieces) (Weinzweig). 1985-6 (Toronto 1987). SATB. Manuscript. [2 excerpts:] Furiant FMDC 4602-2 (Opera in Concert chorus, Cooper conductor)
Prime Time (Weinzweig). 1991 (Toronto 1992). Soprano, baritone, flute, bass clarinet. Manuscript
Journey Out of Night: 14 visions (Weinzweig). 1994 (Toronto 1994). Mezzo, piano. Manuscript
Parodies and Travesties (8 dialogues) (Weinzweig). 1995. Soprano, mezzo, piano. Manuscript
Le Rendez-vous (Weinzweig). 1995. Soprano, mezzo, baritone, piano. Manuscript
Walking-Talking (4 pieces) (Weinzweig). 1996. Soprano, mezzo, tenor, baritone, piano
Prologue to a Tango (Weinzweig). 2002 (Toronto 2003). Mezzo, 4 violins
'A composer looks at the teaching of musical theory,' The Toronto Conservatory of Music Bulletin, Nov 1949
'Notes on a visit to Britain,' The Canadian Composer, 21, 22, Sep, Oct 1967
'Address' (25 Nov 1967), Report on the John Adaskin Project Policy Conference, Canadian Music Centre (Toronto 1967)
'Writings by John Weinzweig,' eds R. and P. Henninger, The Canada Music Book, 6, Spring-Sumer 1973
'Vancouver Symposium 1950,' Canadian League of Composers' Newsletter, 1, Sep 1980
'A wry look at our music,' The Canadian Composer, 175, Oct 1982
John Weinzweig; His Words and His Music (Grimsby, Ont 1986)
'The making of a composer,' The Canadian Composer, 211, May 1986
'John Weinzweig,' Canadian Music of the 1930s and 1940s, ed Beverley Cavanagh, Canadian Music Handbooks 2 [Kingston, Ont, 1987]
'A note on program notes,' Canadian Composer 223, Sep 1987
'Hazards of program notes,' Canadian Composer 226, Dec 1987
'The diary of a song... Hockey Night in Canada,' The Canadian Composer, 224, Oct 1989
Sounds and Reflections (Grimsby, Ont 1990)
'The creation of the Canadian League of Composers: a recollection,' Canadian Music Centre Notations, vol 3, no. 2, Apr 1991
'Demonstrating the twelve-tone technique,' CBC Times, 13-19 May 1951
Wilson, Milton. 'Music review,' Canadian Forum, vol 21, Jul 1951
Beckwith, John. 'Composers in Toronto and Montreal,' University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 26, Oct 1956
Kasemets, Udo. 'John Weinzweig,' The Canadian Music Journal, vol 4, Summer 1960
'Good reviews for a Canadian composer,' Maclean's, Mar 1963
'Professor John Weinzweig: important musical influence,' The Canadian Composer, 14, Jan 1967
Weinzweig, Helen. 'Field guide to the care and feeding of composers'. The Canadian Composer, 17, Apr 1967
'Weinzweig's ''Harp Concerto'' wins critical praise,' The Canadian Composer, 19, Jun 1967
'John Weinzweig, a portrait,' Musicanada, 9, Mar 1968
Winters, Kenneth. 'Behind the silence lurks more of the same,' Toronto Telegram, 17 May 1969
'Weinzweig in Mexico,' The Canadian Composer, 42, Sep 1969
Seay, Albert. 'Review of Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orchestra,' Music Library Association Notes, vol 26, Mar 1970
Such, Peter. Soundprints (Toronto 1972)
Chapman, Norman B. 'Piano music by Canadian composers, 1940-1965,' PH D thesis, Case Western Reserve University 1972
Littler, William. 'John Weinzweig: the CBC's birthday concert,' The Canadian Composer, 78, Mar 1973
Henninger, Richard et al. 'Dossier J.J. Weinzweig,' The Canada Music Book, 6, Spring-Summer 1973
CAPAC. 'Musical Portrait John Weinzweig,' pamphlet and recording (1975)
Champagne, Jane. 'What one man's done to help us understand the composer's role as part of our life,' The Canadian Composer, 100, Apr 1975
Hines, Malcolm. 'An analysis of Divertimento No. 6 for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra by John Weinzweig,' M MUS thesis, Western Ontario 1975
Skelton, Robert A. 'Weinzweig, Gould, Schafer: three Canadian string quartets,' D MUS thesis, Indiana 1976
Webb, Douglas J. 'Serial techniques in John Jacob Weinzweig's five divertimentos and three concertos,' PH D thesis, University of Rochester 1977
Bellavance, Ginette. 'Un bel emballage à l'épreuve du son,' Son Hi-Fi, 5, 1979
'Weinzweig works featured by CBC in premiere of Anthology series,' The Canadian Composer, 139, Mar 1979
Rasky, Frank. 'Radical romantic,' The Graduate, Nov-Dec 1981
Beckwith, John. 'John Weinzweig at seventy,' New Music Concerts booklet, 1983
Keillor, Elaine. 'John Weinzweig's Wine of Peace,' Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario, 9, 1984
Gefen, Pearl Sheffy. 'Calm and composed,' Music Magazine, 13, Apr-May 1990
Eatock, Colin. 'An interview with four of Canada's senior composers: Murray Adaskin, Violet Archer, Jean Papineau-Couture, and John Weinzweig,' SoundNotes 1, Fall/Winter 1991
Everett-Green, Robert. 'Age has not mellowed this maestro,' Globe and Mail, 13 Mar 1993
Keillor, Elaine. John Weinzweig and his Music: The Radical Romantic of Canada (Metuchen, NJ, 1994)
Knelman, Martin. 'Composer decries CBC Radio's lack of CanCon,' Toronto Star, 10 Dec 2000
Knelman, Martin. "Composer Weinzweig's crusade ends in victory," Toronto Star, 1 May 2002
Steenhuisen, Paul. "Composer to composer: John Weinzweig part I," WholeNote, vol 7, no. 9, June 2002
Steenhuisen, Paul. "Composer to composer: John Weinzweig part II," WholeNote, vol 7, no. 10, July-Aug 2002
Foley, Daniel. "John Weinzweig at ninety," Notations, Winter 2003
Goddard, Peter. 'A 90-year-old light in new music darkness,' Toronto Star, 8 Mar 2003
Everett-Green, Robert. 'A tribute to unsung heroes,' Globe and Mail, 22 Mar 2003
Mazey, Steven. "A night to celebrate a pioneering composer," Ottawa Citizen, 19 Jul 2003
Olds, David. "In praise of John Weinzweig," Words & Music, vol 12, no. 1, Spring 2005
Beckwith, John and Cherney, Brian, eds. Weinzweig: Essays on His Life and Music (Waterloo 2011)
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Author Richard Henninger, John Beckwith, Krista L. Roberts
Links to Other Sites
Canadian League of Composers
The website for the Canadian League of Composers, an organization that supports and represents professional composers across the country. Offers the latest news, events, and online guides and publications of interest to composers.
The John Weinzweig Centenary Project
The website for a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of John Weinzweig's birth. Features a complete and authoritative works list and discography, selected videos, and a bibliography.
Canadian Music Centre
Search the extensive CMC website for Canadian composer biographies and interviews, music scores, online newsletters, audio clips, podcasts, and more. Check out "CentreStreams" to listen to online archived recordings featuring outstanding Canadian composers.
John Weinzweig fonds
An archival guide to the John Weinzweig fonds from Library and Archives Canada.
A profile of celebrated Canadian composer John Weinzweig. Includes a selected listing of his works. From "The Living Composers Website."
The 12-Tone Row
A brief introduction to 12-tone music, including audio clips. Part of "The Music Chamber," an extensive student website about chamber music.
A learning activity about 12-tone composition. From ArtsAlive.ca.
John Weinzweig, 'Dean of Canadian Composers,' Dies at 93
An obituary for composer John Weinzweig from the website "PlaybillArts."
Canadian Composers Portraits: John Weinzweig
Listen to audio clips from a recording featuring the music of John Weinzweig. From emusic.com.
A brief obituary for Helen Weinzweig, novelist and wife of late composer John Weinzweig. From thestar.com.
An extensive collection of audio clips from recordings featuring the National Arts Centre Orchestra performing works by noteworthy Canadian and international composers. Click on a composer's name on the right side menu to access specific works. See also composer biographies and the interactive timeline of historical milestones in classical music. From artsalive.ca and the Virtual Museum of Canada.
John Weinzweig celebrated in concert of the century
A review of a four-day celebration held in Toronto to mark the centenary of esteemed Canadian composer John Weinzweig. From thestar.com.