It is hard to imagine a musical career as varied as Toronto’s George Brough. A fixture in the Canadian classical music community, Brough was a pianist, organist, harpsichordist, and opera coach.
As one of Canada’s most distinguished accompanist, he worked with a Who’s Who of names including Heinz Holliger, Gervase de Peyer, Henri Temianka, Bernard Turgeon, and Jon Vickers.
Born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, Brough came to Canada after the completion of his doctoral music studies at Oxford in 1943. He launched his career in Halifax, and first worked as an organist-choirmaster at All Saints Cathedral and taught at the Halifax Cons (Maritime Conservatory of Music).
He moved westward to Toronto in 1947 and joined the Royal Conservatory of Music as an examiner. In 1949, he worked with the CBC Opera Company and performed as a soloist with CBC Symphony Orchestra.
Brough worked as an assistant conductor and accompanist for the Canadian Opera Company in 1958 – a position he would hold for over eight years.
As an organist and rehearsal accompanist, Brough played with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and also as a harpsichordist with the Chamber Players of Toronto.
Brough became a senior member of the collaborative pianists faculty at The Banff Centre and taught there for over 40 summers. He later took a teaching position at the University of Toronto in 1965 and taught there until 1990.
After a 65 year career, Brough established that music was at the centre of his heart. A quiet yet musically expressive man, he was always enthusiastic about young and upcoming talent.
Condolences reprinted via legacy.com:
“George Brough was a true gentleman, a tremendous musician, a wonderful colleague and friend. He will be greatly missed” – Lydia Adams.
“He was a kind and gentle man, who helped me develop into a better musician. I think of him fondly and will miss his charm” – Jason Galamaga.
“George was the quiet, unassuming but absolutely awesome musical support for me and so many of my colleagues. My heartfelt condolences to Simone. Waft him, angels, to the skies” – Robert Missen.
“God bless him. He was a kind and humble gentleman and a fine collaborator. He partnered perhaps three generations of Canadian musicians. Rest well, Dr Brough” – Catherine Robbin.
“Dear George will be in the company of angels. Always a firm foundation for Mendelssohn rehearsals and concerts, always giving encouragement and showing his undeniable talent, to get you through any audition or recital.This gentle spirit we will never forget”– Anne Thomson-King.
The funeral service will take place at Chapel of St. James-the-Less, St. James Cemetery and Crematorium, 635 Parliament St. Toronto, on Thursday, September 24th at 2:00 p.m.
Heartfelt and lasting gratitude to the caring staff at Kensington Gardens, where George spent the last three years of his life. Donations in his memory may be made to one of George’s favourite charities: Oxfam, Salvation Army, Save the Children Canada; or to any musical organisation.
[Correction; Sept 21, 2015: The previous article incorrectly noted George Brough was a Professor.]