Fonds F0483 - Victor Feldbrill fonds

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Victor Feldbrill fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Moving images

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Physical description

2.97 m of textual records
4 film reels

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Biographical history

Victor Feldbrill, conductor and violinist, was born on 4 April 1924 in Toronto, Ontario. He studied violin privately from 1936 to 1943 with Sigmund Steinberg, music theory with John Weinzweig in 1939 and conducting with Ettore Mazzoleni in 1942 to 1943. He was the conductor of the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1942 to 1943 and first conducted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1943 at the invitation of Sir Ernest MacMillan. Feldbrill served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and was stationed in London, England, where he furthered his studies in harmony and composition at the Royal College of Music and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. Upon his return to Canada, he held the positions of concertmaster and assistant conductor (1945-1949) of the Royal Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and Opera Company and studied violin from 1946 to 1949 with Kathleen Parlow and received an artist diploma from the University of Toronto in 1949. During these years he also continued his studies in conducting at Tanglewood in the summer of 1947, and with Pierre Monteux in Maine in the summers of 1949 and 1950. He was a first violin with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1949 to 1956 and with the CBC Symphony Orchestra from 1952 to 1956, which he also guest-conducted nineteen times. He founded the Canadian Chamber Players in 1952 and conducted them for several seasons in Hart House Sunday concerts and elsewhere. During the 1950s he also conducted for Ontario School Broadcasts and National School Broadcasts and freelanced as a violinist and conductor for many other CBC radio and TV programs. He was the founding conductor of the TSO's "Light Classics" series in 1972 and created the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra in 1974. Feldbrill has traveled widely as both a conductor and violinist. In 1979, he was invited to the Tokyo National University of Art and Music (GEIDAI), the first Canadian to be so honoured, and from 1982 to 1987, was the Principal Conductor of the Geidai Philhamronic. He also taught conducting at Geidai during this period and was made Professor Emeritus in 1987. In 1984, he became the first Canadian invited to conduct the Philippine Philharmonic in Manila. He has also visited China, the former Soviet Union and many other countries as guest conductor during his career. Feldbrill has won many awards for his work. In 1964, he became the first Canadian to receive the American Concert Guild Award for his encouragement of young performers and in 1967 became the first recipient of the Canadian Music Citation by the League of Canadian Composers. He was the recipient of the Roy Thomson Hall Award in 1985 and, in 1986, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1990, he was appointed Musical Director and Principal Conductor of Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. He received an honorary degree from Brock University in 1991. Feldbrill died on 17 June 2020 at the age of 96.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of material that documents Feldbrill's personal and professional life and includes correspondence from friends, family and colleagues, including letters from Murray Adaskin, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Harry Somers, John Weinzweig and others, fan mail, programmes, pamphlets, newspaper and magazine articles related to his work as a violinist and/or conductor, contracts and biographical material. In addition, it includes a series of scrapbooks maintained by Feldbrill that documents his professional career from 1940 to the present day. There is considerable correspondence between Feldbrill and his wife Zelda Mann that documents their courtship, the couple's life together, and descriptions of Feldbrill's travels. There is a substantial amount of material related to his performances with the Toronto and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras and to the years he spent working and teaching in Japan.

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Donated by Victor Feldbrill in 2005 and 2006.


Language of material

  • English
  • Yiddish

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No restrictions on access.

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The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2005-031, 2006-043. Further accruals are expected.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2005/11/01 Sean Smith:. (Creation)
2005/11/01 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2006/10/30 Sean Smith. Updated fonds level description to include 2006-043.
2006/11/02 Dubeau. Reviewed description, corrected typographical errors. Added URL for online finding aid, and language of material note. Corrected authority record.
2008/01/23 Dubeau. Update restrictions on access; access is open.
2014/07/22 Migrated to AtoM.
2021/08/13 J. Grant. Post-migration metadata clean up.

Language of description

  • English


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