Violet Archer

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Violet Archer
Portrait of Violet Archer.jpg
Violet Balestreri

(1913-04-24)April 24, 1913
Died February 21, 2000(2000-02-21) (aged 86)
Occupation Composer, teacher, pianist, organist, and percussionist
Awards Order of Canada, 1983

Violet Louise Archer[1] CM (April 24, 1913 – February 21, 2000) was a Canadian composer, teacher, pianist, organist, and percussionist. Born Violet Balestreri in Montreal, Quebec, in 1913, her family changed their name to Archer in 1940. She died in Ottawa on 21 of February 2000.[2]

Education and teaching career

Archer earned an L MUS from McGill University in 1934, and a B MUS from McGill in 1936 where she studied composition with Douglas Clarke.[3] She travelled to New York City in the summer of 1942 where she studied with Béla Bartók, "who introduced her to Hungarian folk tunes and to variation technique.[2] She taught at the McGill Conservatory from 1944–1947.[3] Later in the 1940s she studied with Paul Hindemith at Yale. She earned a B MUS from Yale in 1948, and a M MUS also from Yale in 1949.[3] From 1950–1953 Archer was Composer-in-Residence at the University of North Texas.[4] From 1953 through 1961 she taught at the University of Oklahoma.[5] Returning to Canada in 1961 for doctoral study at the University of Toronto, she set that aside when, in 1962, she joined the Faculty of Music at the University of Alberta. There she would become chairman of the Theory and Composition Department. She remained at the University of Alberta until her retirement.[3] Her notable students include Larry Austin, Jan Randall, Allan Gilliland, and Allan Gordon Bell.

Awards and honours

In 1983, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada.[6][7]

The Canadian Music Centre Library in Calgary is named in her honour (The Violet Archer Library).[8]

The Canadian indie rock band The Violet Archers is named for Archer.[9]

Works and discography

  • 3 Concerti, Archer Piano Concerto, Christina Petrowska Quilico, piano, CBC Vancouver Orchestra, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, conductor, Centrediscs(CMCCD)15610
  • Archer plays the "Jig"
  • Women Composers for Organ, Barbara Harbach. Peterborough, NH: Gasparo Records (294), 2006.[10]
  • Sonatina for Organ
  • Ovation, Volume 2. Toronto: CBC Records (PSCD 2027-5), 2002.[11]
  • Sonata for Flute, Clarinet & Piano
  • Landscapes
  • Four Songs
  • Ten Folksongs for Four Hands
  • Divertimento for Saxophone Quartet
  • Prairie Profiles
  • Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello
  • Canadian Composers Portraits. Toronto: Centrediscs, (CMCCD 8502) 2002.[12]
  • Sinfonietta (CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, John Avison, conductor)
  • Trio no. 2 (The Hertz Trio)
  • String Quartet no. 3 (University of Alberta String Quartet)
  • The Bell (CBC Chorus and Orchestra, Geoffrey Waddington, conductor)
  • Northern Landscapes — A Tribute to Violet Archer, Sarah Muir and Ann Nichols, performers with the Columbian Girls Choir and Chanteuses. Edmonton, 1997.[13]
  • Northern Landscapes (3 movements)
  • The Great Spirit
  • April Weather
  • Surly Burly Shirley
  • O Sing unto the Lord
  • Eight Short Songs for Young Singers
  • Three Biblical Songs
  • Someone
  • Cradle Song
  • Owl Queen
  • The Mater Admirabilis Chape
  • Surrealistic Portraiture Kenneth Fischer, saxophone, Martha Thomas, piano. Atlanta: ACA Digital (ACD 20036), 2001.[14]
  • Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano
  • By a Canadian Lady — Piano Music 1841–1997, Elaine Keillor, piano. Ottawa: Carleton Sound CD1006, 2000.[15]
  • Four Bagatelles
  • Assemblage, Charles Foreman, piano. Calgary: Unical (CD9501), 1995?.[16]
  • Sonata No.2
  • NORTHERN ARCH, various artists, Edmonton: Arktos Recordings (ARK 94001), 1994.[17]
  • Soliloquies for changing Bb and A clarinets (performed by Dennis Prime)
  • CROSSROADS, James Campbell, clarinet. Toronto: Centrediscs / Centredisques (CMCCD 4392), 1992.[18]
  • Moods
  • Ballade, Charles Foreman, piano. Toronto: Centrediscs, (CMCCD 1684), 1991.[19]
  • Theme and Variations on La-Haur
  • Hertz Trio. Calgary: Unical Records, 1991.[20]
  • Trio No.2


  • "À la claire fontaine" (SA and Piano) — Berandol Music

See also


  1. ^ Sanderson, Kay (1999). 200 Remarkable Alberta Women. Calgary: Famous Five Foundation. p. 86. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24.
  2. ^ a b McMillian, Barclay; Keillor, Elaine. "Violet Archer". The Canadian Encyclopedia. The Historica Dominion Institute. Archived from the original on 2012-10-10. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Kallmann, Helmut; Keillor, Elaine; Nygaard King, Betty. "Violet Archer". The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. The Historica Dominion Institute. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  4. ^ Violet Archer Fonds Finding Aid Archived 2005-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Obituary: Violet Archer | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at[dead link]
  6. ^ Order of Canada citation
  7. ^ Schreyer, Edward Richard (30 April 2009). "Violet B. Archer, C.M., D.Mus". Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Canadian Music Centre — Prairie". Archived from the original on 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  9. ^ "See: "our namesake"". Archived from the original on 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  10. ^ "Women Composers For Organ — Amy Beach, et al. / Harbach Classical". Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  11. ^ "Canadian Music Centre — About the CMC". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  12. ^ "Violet Archer. Canadian Composers Portraits". Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  13. ^ "Canadian Music Centre — About the CMC". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  14. ^ "Surrealistic Portraiture / Kenneth Fischer, Thomas – ACA Digital – ACD 20036 – - HBDirect Classical". 2001-04-01. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  15. ^ de:Elaine Keillor
  16. ^ "Canadian Music Centre — About the CMC". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  17. ^ Northern Arch — CD Archived 2006-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Canadian Music Centre — About the CMC". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  19. ^ "Canadian Music Centre — About the CMC". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  20. ^ "Canadian Music Centre". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-03-09.

External links

  • University of Alberta Violet Archer Fonds Finding Aid
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