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Obituary: Canadian broadcaster and new music champion Larry Lake has died, aged 70

By John Terauds on September 19, 2013

lakel_765_bioLarry Lake, one of the most ardent champions of new Canadian music and composers during the last quarter of the 20th century, died in Toronto on Tuesday, following a long battle with cancer.

Lake was best known in recent years as the host of Two New Hours on CBC Stereo/Radio 2 until the show was cancelled in 2007. On this show, and in many other ways from the early 1970s on, Lake sought out the best, most provocative and what he believed would be the most enduring in new Canadian works and composers and tried to share these with as many people as possible.

The broadcaster’s insights were fed by a practical connection to music: He began his musical life as a trumpeter. After moving to Toronto from his native United States in 1970, he became an enthusiastic fan and composer of electronic music. He was one of the co-founders of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, a collective that continues to produce and perform music occasionally to this day.

His biography in the Canadian Encyclopedia (here) shows that he wrote an opera that used live electronic music in 1980.

In his manner and in how he approached his craft Lake was low-key, but there was a lot going on behind the quiet exterior. He was all about substance over show, an attitude that earned him deep respect from several generations of new music fans, performers and composers.

One of his enduring legacies is the University of Toronto’s annual Karen Kieser Prize for promising composition students, established in memory of Lake’s late second wife.

John Terauds

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