April 18, 1952

April18On this day in 1952, composer, cellist, and music teacher, Leo Smith passed away in Toronto at the age of 70.

Smith was born in Birmingham in 1881, and was a child prodigy on the cello. By 1910, Smith had emigrated to Canada and was quickly hired by Frank Welsman to play for his Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

As a teacher at the University of Toronto from 1927 to 1950, Smith became the influence for many of Canada’s future musical leaders; among his students were Louis Applebaum, John Beckwith, and Margaret Sargent.

Smith also wrote three widely-used music textbooks, and was principal cellist with the Toronto Symphony for eight years. He commonly used Quebec folk songs and West Coast aboriginal songs in his compositions.

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