Winters moved to Winnipeg and began several years of study: theory with Gwendda Owen Davies, voice successively with Mary Scarlett Wood, Filmer Hubble, Frederick Newnham, and George Kent, and piano 1946-51 with Roline Mackidd and 1951-3 with John Melnyk, commuting the last two years from Dauphin, where he had set up a piano class. He had begun composing songs, and in 1950 his setting of Blake's 'O Rose, Thou Art Sick' for contralto, flute and string quartet won the first composition award offered by the Winnipeg Jewish Women's Musical Club. During the 1950s and early 1960s he completed a number of other songs, and a folksong suite for high voice, flute, viola, and cello.
In 1954 Winters returned to Winnipeg to serve as organist-choirmaster at St Philip's Anglican Church, Norwood, to attend Manitoba Normal School, and to establish a piano class. He also did some vocal coaching, taught school music 1955-6, and sang in a Rainbow Stage production of Annie Get Your Gun. in 1956. He began writing music and dance reviews for the Winnipeg Free Press in 1956 and later also covered visual arts and movies, and wrote record and book reviews. This pattern held until 1966, interrupted 1959-60 by a year's study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger (composition) and Annette Dieudonné (solfège). Winters also served in 1962 as music editor for the periodical Canadian Art. He composed five incidental pieces and was music director for John Hirsch's production of James Reaney's children's play Names and Nicknames (premiered in Winnipeg, 1 Nov 1963).
Winters moved to Toronto and served as music and dance critic for the Telegram from 1966 until 1971, when he was appointed executive director of OFSO. In the fall of that year he also became the founding executive director of ACO, administering the national organization from the OFSO offices in Toronto. In 1972 he became associated with the planners of EMC, and in 1975 he resigned from OFSO/ACO to devote all his time to the encyclopedia.
Winters began broadcasting in 1956 and thereafter was the author of, and commentator for, innumerable CBC radio broadcasts, both reviews ('Critically Speaking,' 'Records in Review,' 'Music Diary,' 'Sound Reviews,' etc) and entire series, notably 'Telemann and Company' (1964), 'The Music of Chopin' (1964-5), 'The Music of Mendelssohn' (1965-6), 'Benjamin Britten' (a 'CBC Tuesday Night' documentary and 8 subsequent programs of the composer's music, 1970), 'Gustav Holst, Planetmaker' (Ohio-Award-winning 'CBC Tuesday Night' documentary, 1974), 'Sir Michael Tippett: A Composer for Our Time' ('CBC Tuesday Night' documentary, 1975), 'The Way to the Cross' (Good Friday three-hour special, 1978), and a weeklong special on the 300th anniversary of Bach's birth (1985). He was co-host for the CBC radio program 'Mostly Music' 1981-2; he returned as a regular contributor in 1985 and as host in 1989.
'Ozawa,' Toronto Telegram, 26 Apr 1969
'Somers: in the spring of his career,' ibid, 5 Jul 1969
'Teresa Stratas - a swallow's return,' ibid, 19 Jun 1971
'Canada,' Sohlmans Musiklexikon (Stockholm 1975)
'RCCO national convention,' AGO/RCCO Music, vol 9, Oct 1975
'Musical Performance and Communication: the pilot year, 1987,' report, Toronto 1988
'Violet Archer,' 'Godfrey Ridout,' Contemporary Canadian Composers
'Towards the "one justifiable end",' Musical Canada
Also articles for Canadian Music Journal, Canada Music Book, Canadian Composer, Canadian Art, Music Scene; The Junior Encyclopedia of Canada, and program notes for the Toronto Symphony and the NACO.
Links to Other Sites
Music critic and host Ken Winters dies
A CBC obituary for Ken Winters, multitalented Canadian music critic, former host of CBC's Mostly Music, and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.