George Crum

 George Crum, conductor (b at Providence, RI 26 Oct 1926; d at Newmarket, Ont 8 Sep 2007). George Crum received his education at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont and then attended Toronto's ROYAL CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC. He made his professional debut as a pianist at age 16 and soon joined the faculty of the Conservatory's opera department. He made his conducting debut in 1948 in the Royal Conservatory Opera School's production of Faust. Despite offers from the Metropolitan Opera and the Rome Opera, Crum chose to stay in Canada. In 1951 he became the first conductor and music director of the NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA. Over 33 years he built its orchestra from 18 members to 74, expanded the repertoire and conducted award-winning performances of Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty (Emmys in 1970 and 1973) and of Romeo and Juliet (Prix René Barthélemy, 1966). He has guest conducted operas and symphonies in Canada, the US, Japan and Europe as well as CBC telecasts, including the 1969 Don Giovanni, the first full-length opera telecast in North America. In 1972 he won the Celia Award.

He retired from the National Ballet in 1984 but continued to appear frequently as a guest conductor, including Karen KAIN's 20th anniversary gala (1988), Veronica TENNANT's farewell performance in Romeo and Juliet (1989) and the company's 40th anniversary gala (1991). Crum continued to compose original music and occasionally conducted for other ballet companies, including New York's Joffrey Ballet and Mexico City's Ballet Teatro. He also transcribed existing piano works for full orchestra. He selected works that are suitable for ballet and arranged a new version of Chopin's piano music for Les Sylphides as well as Schumann's Kinderscenen and Carnaval, and Beethoven's Thirty-two Variations for Piano. Crum gave the scores to the Canadian Music Centre where they are available to choreographers.