Fonds S1001 - Maureen Forrester fonds

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Maureen Forrester fonds

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16 m of textual records
910 photographs : b&w, col.
25 audio discs
12 audio reels
3 audio cassettes
11 video cassettes
34 objects
9 postcards
1 painting
3 sketches

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Biographical history

Maureen Katherine Stewart Forrester (1930-2010) was an internationally acclaimed Canadian contralto and an advocate for the arts. Forrester was born on July 25, 1930 in Montreal, Quebec. She left school at age 13 to work as a secretary, using her earnings to finance vocal lessons with Sally Martin, Frank Rowe, and Bernard Diamant. Forrester made her professional debut with the Montreal Elgar Choir in December 1951. In 1957 Forrester married violinist Eugene Kash, with whom she had five children. The couple divorced in 1974. On June 16, 2010, Forrester died in Toronto.

Throughout her illustrious career Forrester maintained a rigorous schedule, performing as many as 120 concerts a year in countries around the world. She was often accompanied by her long-time collaborator, pianist John Newmark. Celebrated for her interpretations of Mahler, Brahms, Schumann, and Strauss, Forrester’s repertoire also included works by Canadian composers. Over the course of her career Forrester performed with the world’s major orchestras and choirs, including: New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Paris’ Salle Gaveau, New York Philharmonic, the Casals Festival, the National Film Board, American Opera Society, Canadian Opera Company, San Diego Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opéra de Montréal, and San Francisco Opera.

Forrester’s dedication to music went beyond performing. She often gave voice lessons and served in administrative roles. In the mid-1960s Forrester began to teach music classes: master classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music, 1964-1966; the Philadelphia Music Academy, 1966-71; the University of Toronto, 1971-72; and the University of Alberta, 1985. Additionally, Forrester regularly taught classes while on tour. Between 1973 and 1979, Forrester served on the board for the National Arts Centre. In 1975, she was the founding director of the COMUS Music Theatre Foundation, a company dedicated to the promotion of new musical theatre works and talent. From 1983 to 1988, Forrester served as Chair of Canada Council for the Arts and in 1986, she was named honourary president of the International Year of Canadian Music. From 1986 to 1990 Maureen Forrester served as Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University. In 1994, Laurier named its new musical performance facility the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall.

In recognition of her talent and service to the arts Forrester received numerous honours including: the Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967; the 1971 Molson Prize; the Canadian Music Council Medal in 1983; the Order of Ontario in 1990; the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (Lifetime Artist Achievement) in 1995; L’Ordre national du Québec in 2003. In 1990 Forrester was inducted in to the Juno Hall of Fame and in 2000 she received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Additionally, Forrester received thirty honorary degrees.

Custodial history

The Laurier Archives acquired this collection in two major acquisitions in 1997 and 2011.

In 1997, the Laurier Library received a collection of scores belonging to Maureen Forrester. Most scores were added to the Laurier Library book collection. Scores that were notated, autographed, or in fragile collection were transferred to the Laurier Archives, forming the Maureen Forrester fonds. This acquisition is now Series 2 - 1997 deposit.

In 2006 the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Music purchased Maureen Forrester's papers from the Forrester family. Known as the Maureen Forrester Legacy Collection, the material was organized by the Faculty of Music and housed in the John Aird Building. It was used for display and research.

In 2011 the Faculty of Music transferred the majority of the material in the Maureen Forrester Legacy Collection to the Laurier Archives. These records were added to the Maureen Forrester fonds. The Faculty of Music retained a small amount of material, including Maureen Forrester's Order of Canada medal, Order of Ontario medal, Order of Quebec medal, Canada Council medal, Grammy Nominee (1992) medal, the Broadcast Executives Society achievement award (1979), and various scores, sound recordings and photographs. These items are not part of the Maureen Forrester fonds.

Since 2011 the Forrester family has made small deposits of additional material.

Scope and content

The fonds contains material acquired and created by Maureen Forrester. Includes musical scores, photographs, concert programs, clippings, awards, audio recordings, video recordings, working files, professional and personal records, correspondence and other material.

Although the fonds does contain some personal records, the majority of the collection is Forrester's professional files. This includes more than 2,800 scores. Some of the scores are notated and signed by Maureen Forrester.

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  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Spanish

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At ANNEX. Retrieval of boxes requires 24 hours notice.

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Accompanying material

The following items were transferred to Special Collections:

Bantock, Granville. Sappho : nine fragments for contralto, 1906. Words selected by Helen F. Bantock

Berkeley, Lennox. Four poems of St. Theresa of Avila : for contralto and string orchestra. Poems translated by Arthur Symons

Brahms, Johannes. Ausgewaehlte Lieder

Britten, Benjamin. Serenade for tenor solo, horn and strings, op. 31.

Britten, Benjamin. Seven sonnets of Michelangelo : op. 22 : set to music for tenor voice and piano

Britten, Benjamin. Folk songs arrangements for voice and piano : v. 1 British Isles

Britten, Benjamin. Folk songs arrangements for voice and piano : v. 2 France; v, 3 British Isles, high voice; v. 5 British Isles.

Britten, Benjamin. Folk song arrangements : medium voice : v. 1 British Isles; v. 2 France.

Britten, Benjamin. Canticle I : my beloved is mine and I am his : Cant. II. 16, op. 40 : for high voice and piano.

Britten, Benjamin. Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac : op. 51, for alto, tenor and piano.

Forrester, Maureen. Au-delà du personage : un récit autobiographique. Canada: Libre Expressions, 1989

Forrester, Maureen. Out of character. Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1986

Handel, G. F. Messiah : an oratorio

Haydn, Joseph. The creation : an oratorio

Letendre, Conrad. L’Oeuvre l’Orgue, t.I –t.III. [Tome 1 includes inscription: 19 novembre 1984. A Madame Maureen Forrester en souvenir de l'auteur. Aline Letendre]

Mattiesen, Emil. Künstlerandachten für eine Singstimme und Klavier, 1920. Vol. 1, 2

Mattiesen, Emil. Vier Heitere Lieder : op. 7, 1920

Mattiesen, Emil. Duette fur Zwei Singstimmen

Mattiesen, Emil. Sämtliche Lieder für eine Singstimme mit Klavierbegleitung

Milhaud, Darius Tristesses : suite pour baryton et piano / Darius Milhaud ; poèmes de Francis Jammes ; traduction anglaise de Rollo Myers

Purcell, Henry. Orpheus Britannicus : seven songs / Henry Purcell ; the figured basses realised by Benjamin Britten ; the vocal parts edited by Peter Pears

Purcell, Henry. The Queen's epicedium : elegy on the death of Queen Mary, 1695

Schoeck, Othmar. Lieder aus dem Westostlichen Diwan von Goethe, 1917

Zacks, Sam. Fifty paintings.

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Physical storage

  • Shelf: Room 1-124 Shelf 22-1-5
  • Shelf: Annex, WLA2759-WLA2875
  • Shelf: Room 1-124 Shelf 20-2-5