Franz Kraemer. TV and radio producer, administrator, b Vienna 1 Jun 1914, naturalized Canadian 1947, d Toronto 27 Aug 1999. His musical training included private studies in composition with Berg 1932-5 and orchestration under Hermann Scherchen in 1938.
Franz Kraemer. TV and radio producer, administrator, b Vienna 1 Jun 1914, naturalized Canadian 1947, d Toronto 27 Aug 1999. His musical training included private studies in composition with Berg 1932-5 and orchestration under Hermann Scherchen in 1938. He emigrated to Canada in 1940 and, after three years in internment camps, studied composition and conducting briefly at the TCM (RCMT) under Arnold Walter and Ettore Mazzoleni. In Montreal, Kraemer joined the CBC IS in 1946 as a producer, then moved to the English network of CBC TV, working first as a producer and, in Toronto, 1952-70 as an executive producer. He was a pioneer of opera on TV, and among his notable productions were Britten's The Turn of the Screw (1958, TV premiere) and Peter Grimes (1959, TV premiere), Strauss' Elektra (1961, North American TV premiere), Verdi's Otello (1963), Mozart's The Magic Flute (1966), and, with Leon Major, Somers' Louis Riel (1969, TV premiere). Kraemer also produced documentaries marking the 80th and 85th birthdays of Igor Stravinsky and the TS's 1970 tour of Japan and recitals by Rostropovich, Gould, Quilico, and Stratas. Kraemer appeared in the 1959 NFB film Glenn Gould - Off the Record, discussing composition with Gould.
In 1971 Kraemer was appointed music director of the Toronto Arts Foundation (later Toronto Arts Productions), responsible for co-ordinating music programs at the St Lawrence Centre, which under his guidance became known particularly for the breadth and variety of its chamber music programs and for its revival of solo recitals in Toronto. His interest in promoting new talent led in 1971 to the establishment of the centre's annual recital series Young Canadian Performers. In May 1976 he produced the festival Canadian Sound, a retrospective of the work of Canadian composers and poets over the past 30 years. The 16-program series offered performances of more than 25 Canadian works by such composers as Phil Nimmons, Harry Somers, and Gilles Tremblay, and Harry Freedman's Alice in Wonderland was given its premiere.
Kraemer was head 1979-85 of the music section of the Canada Council, where he established several initiatives to aid musicians. He retired to Toronto in 1986, and was appointed director of the Sylva Gelber Foundation. Kraemer also served the Association of Canadian Orchestras, from 1986 as a member of the advisory board, and as a director from 1990. In retirement he continued to act as consultant and adviser (eg, program consultant to the NAC), and in 1990 was appointed a member of the federal government's task force on professional training in the cultural sector. Kraemer received a Canadian Music Council medal, and the ACO Award in 1986. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1981, then an Officer in 1987.
In a speech in October 2000, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson remembered Franz Kraemer as "the most prolific and talented music producer the CBC Television ever produced ... He was a mentor for many of us in television who did that kind of programming."
'The state of Canadian orchestras: a paper presented to the Canada Council December 10, 1979 / Situation actuelle des orchestres canadiens : exposé présenté au Conseil des Arts du Canada, décembre 1979' Ottawa, 1980
Winters, Kenneth. 'Franz Kraemer to the rescue,' Toronto Telegram, 13 Apr 1971
O'Toole, Lawrence. 'The rebel at St. Lawrence Centre scorns the safe approach to music,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 17 Jan 1976
Teitelbaum, Ethel. 'Musician produced TV shows on Glenn Gould and Stravinsky,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 31 Aug 1999