In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Victor Feldbrill

Conductor Victor Feldbrill died on June 17, 2020, aged 96. He was a great friend of the WMCT, an honorary advisor, and several times a juror for the Career Development Award. In May 2013 he was guest speaker at a Club Lunch. For News & Notes no. 48, then president Annette Sanger interviewed Maestro Feldbrill and summarized his talk.

 WMCT member John Beckwith remembers: “Victor and I were fellow music students in Toronto seventy years ago.  He was noted as a champion of Canadian composers and I can testify to that: he conducted the premiere of my first orchestral composition around 1950 and some time in the early 2000s he conducted the premiere of what is likely to be my last, with several other titles in between.  He was a versatile and technically brilliant musician and in his long career he participated decisively in the development of the Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Toronto symphony orchestras, the University of Toronto student orchestra, and an orchestra of retiree professionals which he formed during his own retirement – this in addition to numerous guest appearances, notably during his extensive stay in Japan in the 1980s.   I will remember him fondly and with much admiration.”        

Prof. Robin Elliott, organizer of WMCT’s pre-concert lectures, “Tuning Your Mind,” has posted a full obituary on his website of the Institute for Music in Canada.

His illustrious career has also been noted on these websites:

In Memoriam: Emmy Homburger

The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto and its Foundation mourn the death on December 11, 2019 of one of its Great Women.

President from the 108th to 110th seasons, member and supporter for many years, Emmy made major contributions of time and talent to the festivities of the centennial celebrations of 1997-98, which included the first Career Development Award, and the gala concert whose financial success resulted in the establishment of the Foundation.

Our condolences go to the family, already grieving the loss of Emmy’s husband Walter earlier this year.

A Memorial Reception will be held at Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Friday, 20 December, 2019, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM


Celebration of Life: Walter Homburger

Walter Homburger, who died on July 25, at the age of 95, was a Patron of the WMCT, and an Honorary Advisor to the WMCT Foundation. He assisted his wife Emmy, a former president of the Club, in coordinating the Centennial Celebration Concert, whose financial success resulted in the establishment of the Foundation. The WMCT and Foundation community join in sending Emmy, and her family, our deepest sincere condolences.

Mr Homburger’s first years in Canada (1940-41) were spent in internment camps in Quebec and New Brunswick, together with other European Jewish refugees who later made unprecedented contributions to Canadian life. Musicians in this group included musicologist Helmut Blume, violinist Hymn Bress, historian Helmut Kallmann, CBC producer Franz Kraemer, and pianist (often heard at the WMCT) John Newmark.

He began his professions, of brilliant orchestra manager, consultant, impresario and artist manager, by borrowing enough money to bring Lotte Lehmann for three lieder recitals in Eaton Auditorium in January 1947. He promoted a succession of extraordinary artists (including Glenn Gould, Victor Braun, and Jan Rubes), and his term as managing director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1962-1987) set new standards. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1984.
In 1993 he came out of retirement to manage the developing career of WMCT Career Development Award winner James Ehnes. In 1999 to mark his 75th birthday Ehnes and Yo Yo Ma performed a recital at Roy Thomson Hall. He was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2010.

For further obituary notices see:

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In Memoriam: Peter Longworth

Pianist and teach Peter Longworth has died at the early age of 54. Peter graced the WMCT stage five times, beginning with the Duke Piano Trio in the 102nd season, and most recently in 2016 during the 119th season, with James Sommerville, horn, and Scott St. John, violin.

John Terauds and Norman Lebrecht have written heartfelt tributes to his contributions to Toronto musical life.

Further appreciations by colleagues, students and friends at Ludwig van Toronto.

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In Memoriam : John D. McNeil

John McNeil died on February 26, 2018.  He was an Honorary Advisor to both the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto and the Foundation, as well as a member of the Investment Committee, since its inception some 18 years ago.

John was the husband of Esther McNeil, founding chair of the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto Foundation, and former two-time President of the WMCT.  John advised Esther when she created the Foundation 18 years ago, and was a vital partner in ensuring its successful launch and continuing growth. As the former Chairman and CEO of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, John was able to contribute both financial acumen and networking skills to create a distinguished roster of Investment Committee members. As a long-serving member of the Investment Committee, John guided the Foundation to invest its money wisely and for the long term, ensuring the health and continuing success of the WMCT.
John was also a keen music lover and attended all WMCT concerts after his retirement.

The WMCT and Foundation community join in sending Esther, and her family, our deepest condolences, and very best wishes.

Obituary: Marina Geringas

Teacher of elite pianists played last concert for Music in the Afternoon in 1982.


Marina Geringas, much-loved teacher and performer died at her home in Toronto on June 20 at the age of 77.  Russian-born, she lived through the Second World War in the Soviet Union and immigrated to Canada in 1975. In addition to performing, she became a leading teacher at both the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto. In 1982 she retired from performing and played her last concert on Dec. 9 in Christ Church Deer Park presented by the WMCT.

Read Arthur Kaptainis’ Globe and Mail obituary.

In Memoriam – George Brough

In Memoriam George Brough – 1918 – 2015

Longtime WMCT member and fixture in the Canadian classical music community George Brough died in Toronto, September 15. He was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, February 25, 1918, and became pianist, organist, harpsichordist, and opera coach. Music was the heart of his life and he and his friend and companion of 43 years, Simone Desilets have been part of the WMCT community for many years.

See Toronto Star obituary:

See Musical Toronto In Memoriam:

Music Lover James Stewart Dies

The WMCT was truly saddened to hear of the passing of Professor James Stewart, an avid lover of classical music and generous donor. We were indeed fortunate to have our fundraiser at his home, Integral House, last May. It was a very unusual and spectacular venue, and a wonderful concert in support of a significant event in the history of the club – the 10th presentation of the Career Development Award in 2015. Our sincere condolences to James Stewart’s family and friends.

~ Annette Sanger, WMCT president

Click here for his story in Musical Toronto website. 

Click here for Toronto Star obituary.