The composer John Beckwith was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. He studied piano in Toronto with Alberto Guerrero, and composition in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. He joined the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto in 1952, served as its Dean from 1970 to 1977, and Jean A. Chalmers Professor of Canadian Music from 1984 to 1990.
What is music â€“ where does it come from and what does it mean? If music is in the background, and no one listens to it, does it still exist?
Why do composers write music, and how do they learn their profession?
What about Canadian music â€“ a regional dialect of this "universal language"? How has it been created inside the country â€“ how well is it understood abroad?
Music papers are reflections from a life of composing and teaching. These articles, talks and reviews, whether intended originally for general or professional audiences, communicate a passion for music rooted in a North American culture and place, informed by long and loving familiarity with masterpieces from elsewhere.
Also included are alternative versions of the early life of Glenn Gould, proofs of the existence of musical life in Toronto, and some questions still unanswered.