The John Weinzweig Centenary Project - celebrating the Dean of Canadian Composers in recognition of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Known for his piercing wit, John Weinzweig once told the story of his recurring nightmare. In it, Canadians revered long-dead European composers with concerts, festivals and broadcasts dedicated to their music, ultimately leading to the demise of Canadian music.The John Weinzweig Centenary Project will ensure that his nightmare doesn't come true. 

The mission of the John Weinzweig Centenary Project is to encourage performances of and dialogue about the music and influence of John Weinzweig in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of his birth; and in so doing, to inspire a new era of performance, audience awareness and demand for contemporary repertoire by Canadian composers.

In 2011, Mozart turned 255. As they do on each and every anniversary of his birth - and of his death - music institutions, performers and conservatories across Canada and around the world programmed Mozart programs and celebrated his legacy. That's not to say that Mozart's legacy isn't worth celebrating; but does it need to be every five years? And at the expense of programming great Canadian music? All too often and for far too long, Canadian music and composers are overshadowed by the classical favourites of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. To change this was among John Weinzweig's many great ambitions. 

John Weinzweig, the pre-eminent Canadian composer of his generation, would have turned 100 on March 11, 2013. The John Weinzweig Centenary is an opportunity to commemorate the musical innovation of the Dean of Canadian Composers, and to celebrate his extraordinary legacy, which lives on through three generations of Canadian composers and many of our most celebrated musical organizations.

Get involved! Perform, create, learn, be inspired, and celebrate the life and music of John Weinzweig.

Please contact us for more information, and to tell us about how you will be celebrating the John Weinzweig Centenary!


Promoting Performance

Though there have been remarkable strides made, Canadian music still occupies a marginal position in the repertories of performers, ensembles, institutions and organizations across the country. During his lifetime, John Weinzweig devoted himself to this cause, and remarked on the anniversaries of Mozart, Beethoven and Bach – celebrated by ensembles all over the world – that he awaited the day when Canadian composers would be commemorated with similar veneration.

The John Weinzweig Centenary will encourage ensembles, presenters and producers across Canada to include the music of John Weinzweig in their regular programming and in dedicated concerts, commemorative events and festivals. For more details on performances of Weinzweig's music, visit our events page.

John Weinzweig Centenary Concert in Toronto - March 8, 2013

Commemorative concerts featuring  Canada’s most prolific soloists and ensembles helped celebrate John Weinzweig’s 60th, 70th, 80th and 90th birthdays. The John Weinzweig Centenary Concert on March 8, 2013, in honour of what would have been his 100th birthday, will bring together Canada's most renowned musicians with emerging stars of the next generation, in an extraordinary concert event that will launch John Weinzweig Centenary Year activities. 

The John Weinzweig Centenary Concert will celebrate not only Weinzweig's outstanding oeuvre and contributions to Canadian music, but will also celebrate works of some of his contemporaries, and the innumerable Canadian composers whom he has influenced.

Fostering Education

If the music and legacy of John Weinzweig are to live on, it must be so through the next generations of Canadians. The John Weinzweig Centenary will encourage dialogue about his influence and performance of his works in universities, conservatories, public schools,  scholarly societies, and cultural organizations across Canada, through concerts, courses, seminars, conferences and publications.

Facilitating Dialogue

A national scholarly conference on the topic of “John Weinzweig, his Contemporaries and Influence,” hosted by the University of Toronto and the Institute of Canadian Music, will take place in March 2013, coinciding with the Centenary Concert. This initiative is spearheaded by Professor Robin Elliott, Jean Chalmers Chair in Canadian Music at the University of Toronto, Director of the Institute of Canadian Music, and a member of the John Weinzweig Centenary Advisory Board.

Promoting Distribution

The John Weinzweig Centenary Project will encourage the distribution of recorded works, including commercial recordings and the many radio, film and television programs for which Weinzweig composed.  



Advisory Board

Gage Averill

Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of British Columbia

John Beckwith

Composer and Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Elisabeth Bihl

Executive Director, Canadian Music Centre

Helen Burstyn

Co-Chair & Executive Lead, The Partnership Project

Wende Cartwright

President, Savira Productions

Lawrence Cherney

Artistic Director, Soundstreams

Rita Davies

Executive Director of Culture, City of Toronto

Robin Elliott

Jean A. Chalmers Chair in Canadian Music, University of Toronto

Victor Feldbrill

Renowned Conductor and Violinist

Richard Henninger


Peter Herrndorf

President and CEO, National Arts Centre

David Jaeger

Senior Producer, CBC Radio Music

Elaine Keillor

Adjunct Professor, School of Music, University of Ottawa 

Michael Levine

Executive Vice Chairman, The Historica-Dominion Institute

Phil Nimmons

Composer, Bandleader, and Jazz Clarinetist 

Costa Pilavachi

Senior VP, Classical Artists & Repertoire, Universal Music Group

James Rolfe

Past President, Canadian League of Composers

Jennifer Wingate

Associate Director, National Life Stories at The British Library

Paul Weinzweig

Consultant to the Project

R. Murray Schafer


Robert Cram

Music Educator, Musician

Larry Weinstein