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Helmut Blume with Schafer

Helmut Blume with Schafer


This interview, featuring R. Murray Schafer and Serge Garrant, examines modern Canadian music of the time and looks at why composers write works that some listeners view as "incomprehensible". This program is of interest because of its clear outlining of Schafer's views on musical creation and its use of scholarly language. This type of in-depth musical deconstruction would certainly not be found on today's classical music radio.

INTERVIEWEE R. Murray Schafer

Born in Sarnia, Ontario, R. Murray Schafer has won acclaim not only for his achievement as a composer but also as an educator, environmentalist, literary scholar, visual artist and provocateur. After receiving a Licentiate in piano through the Royal Schools of Music (England), he studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto, followed by periods of study in Austria and England which encompassed literature, philosophy, music and journalism. He has written works ranging from orchestral compositions to choral music as well as musical theatre and multi-media ritual.

His interests are reflected in the enormous range and depth of his works including Loving (1965), Lustro (1972), Music for Wilderness Lake (1979), Flute Concerto (1984), and the World Soundscape Project , as well as his 12-part Patria music theatre cycle. His most important book, The Tuning of the World (1977), documents the findings of his World Soundscape Project, which united the social, scientific and artistic aspects of sound and introduced the concept of acoustic ecology. The concept of soundscape unifies most of his musical and dramatic work, as well as his educational and cultural theories.


Helmut Blume , born in Berlin and immigrating to Canada in 1940, was a pianist, broadcaster, administrator and educator. He studied at the University of Berlin (with Hindemith), the Hochschule für Musik (Berlin) and in England with Louis Kentner. After moving to Canada he studied with Alberto Guerrero and was appointed head of the piano department of the Hambourg Conservatory. He became associated with the German section of CBC IS in Montreal, first as editor-broadcaster, then as head. He then became music consultant to CBC IS and produced many music programs including "CBC Wednesday Night", "Form in Music", "Opera Stars and Stories", "Music and the Church" and "The Musical Mind".

He joined the Faculty of Music at McGill University as an instructor in 1946 and became dean in 1964. In 1955, while chairman of the department of keyboard and vocal music, he opened the opera workshop. During his tenure as dean he initiated changes in course structure and established an electronic studio under the direction of Istvan Anhalt. After retiring, Blume continued to teach piano at McGill for 20 years.


Interview: Oskar Morawetz and Timothy Findley Interview: John Weinzweig: barn dance Beckwith interviewing Sir Ernest MacMillan Interview: Robert Aitken with Norma Beecroft Helmut Blume with Schafer Interview: John Adaskin behind the scenes at the CMC

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This project was made possible through funding from the AV Preservation Trust and the Department of Canadian Heritage AV Trust Department of Canadian Heritage

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