In 1964 MacMillan succeeded John Adaskin as executive director of the Canadian Music Centre, in which capacity he worked tirelessly to promote the music of Canadian composers through his writings, lectures, and participation on the boards and committees of such organizations as the CCA, the CMEA, the Canadian Music Council, EMC, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the TSO. He was secretary 1964-76 and president 1976-7 of the Music Information Centres Commission of the International Association of Music Libraries and was president 1974-5 of CAML. Besides editing the CMCentre's catalogues of Canadian compositions, he edited its Newsletter/Bulletin de nouvelles (1964-6) and the magazine Musicanada throughout its first phase (1967-70). Described as a catalyst and activator, MacMillan was instrumental in launching EMC, becoming a director and contributor to the project. He was music consultant for The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs (Harmondsworth, England, 1973), compiled by Edith Fowke. He lectured 1969-70 on 'Man and His Music,' and in 1974 on Canadian music at York University. His advocacy of Canadian music proceeded thus on the broadest of bases. His calm persistence and sturdy good nature countered official and public indifference effectively, and his correlative intelligence worked on all fronts to unify the ideals and purposes of Canada's musical agencies. In 1977 he became chairman of the music department at the University of Ottawa, where he taught courses on acoustics and on Canadian music. After his retirement in 1985 he devoted much of his time to writing his father, Sir Ernest's, biography, which remained unfinished at the time of his death. He was awarded the Canadian Music Council Medal in 1978.
Of MacMillan's four children, two have pursued careers in music performance: Elizabeth (Betsy), a viola da gambist with Ensemble Arion; Kevin, a violinist and music teacher in Saskatoon. Keith's brother Ross, a chemical engineer, married the pianist Gwen Beamish MacMillan (ARCT 1948, LRCT 1952), a pupil of Boris Berlin and Boris Roubakine at the RCMT and of Claudio Arrau and Alexander Uninsky in master classes at Stratford, Ont. She began teaching at the Banff SFA in 1959 and at the University of Western Ontario in 1970. Their daughter Robin has been active as an oboist and piano accompanist.
See also Alexander Macmillan (his grandfather).
'New sound equipment,' CMJ, vol 4, Spring 1960
Review of Canada's Story in Song, CMJ, vol 5, Winter 1961
'Music,' Canadian Annual Review, ed John Saywell (Toronto 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967)
'Canadian Music Centre: developing a new tradition,' OpCan, Dec 1964
'Of garbage and modern music,' CME, vol 6, Jan-Feb 1965
'The process of discovery,' PfAC, vol 4, no. 4, 1966
'National organizations,' Aspects of Music in Canada/'Les organismes nationaux,' Aspects de la musique au Canada
'New Canadian music - are we afraid of it?' CME, vol 10, Mar-Apr 1969
'Thriving ten-year old,' OpCan, vol 10, May 1969
'Report from Victoria,' CMB, 2, Spring-Summer 1971
'The changing image of Canada and its new music,' Music and Artists, vol 4, Sep-Oct 1971
'Music in Canada today,' The Musicians' Guide (New York 1972)
'Tribute to Elmer Iseler,' CMB, 10, Spring-Summer 1975
- and Beckwith, John, eds. Contemporary Canadian Composers/Compositeurs canadiens contemporains
'Music-lover claims sausage-makers ruining CBC radio,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 20 Apr 1976
'Music on the CBC: the English service division of CBC radio,' Mcan, 31, Feb 1977
'Canadian composers you'll be hearing...' TS News, Apr-May 1977
'Established and imported, or brash and fresh, arts response growing,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 26 Nov 1977
Articles on Canadian music for the Encyclopedia Americana, The International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians, The New Grove Dictionary, Rizzoli Editore
Author Francean Campbell Rich
Littler, William. 'Mr. Canadian music inherits dad's mantle,' Toronto Star, 4 Jun 1977
Beckwith, John. 'Keith MacMillan (1920-1991): an appreciation,' Notations, vol 3, Jul 1991
Links to Other Sites
Keith MacMillan Fonds
Information page for Keith MacMillan fonds. Keith MacMillan was a renowned Canadian administrator, producer, author, and teacher.
The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs
A review of the highly recommended "The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs." Keith MacMillan was the music consultant for this book. A Manitoba Library Association website.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.