Death of Canadian principal, 96

Death of Canadian principal, 96


norman lebrecht

October 31, 2020

We have been notified of the death of the clarinettist Ezra Schabas, former principal of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music and founding manager of Canada’s National Youth Orchestra.

He died on October 12.


  • Brian Bell says:

    Ezra Schabas also wrote an excellent biography on Theodore Thomas, who toured America with his namesake orchestra from 1866 to 1890, and then was the first conductor of the Chicago Symphony in 1891.

  • V.Lind says:

    That’s a loss. The NYO is fantastic.


  • Arthur Kaptainis says:

    Ezra Schabas wrote a few good books (not to mention a few influential reports) but his magnum opus was a biography of Sir Ernest MacMillan (1893-1973), who was in many respects the architect of music in English Canada.

  • Derrick Lewis says:

    I saw this headline and thought, “Könnte es sein?” It was! 50 yrs ago when I was a student of Alexander Floruk at the Con, my teacher said he wanted me to play the piano for the principal, Mr. Schabas. I said (all full of myself) no thanks. I plan to be a composer and I feel piano study would be a distraction.
    So, I never laid eyes on Mr. Schabas, and in fact, until I saw the photo of him here tonight, never even knew what he looked like.
    My main thought right now is, “What if….. what if I had played for him?”
    Perhaps this is a good example of why the word NOSTALGIA is derived from “our pain.”

  • Straussian says:

    I must say I am surprised and disappointed that it has taken nearly 20 days for the news of Ezra Schabas’s death to be reported on Slipped Disc. And only two sentences? He was an important figure in Canadian music for decades, overseeing the development of both University of Toronto Faculty of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the author of many books. The biography of Sir Ernest Macmillan was mentioned, but so far, no mention of Opera Viva, on the history of the Canadian Opera Company, which he co-authored with the late Carl Morey, the former dean of the U of T Faculty of Music. Professor Schabas is fondly remembered.