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Hugh John McLean

MCLEAN, Hugh John - (Organist) OC, FRCCO, FRCM, FRSC The musical world has lost a great organist, choirmaster and musicologist. Hugh John McLean passed away peacefully Sunday evening, July 30, in Naples, FL. He was born in Winnipeg, on Sunday January 5, 1930. As a young teenager and fine pianist, Hugh studied organ with Hugh Bancroft in Vancouver; at 15, held his first organist position at St. Luke's Anglican Church, Winnipeg, had his first CBC broadcast recital as organist, age 17. Attending the Royal College of Music, England on an organ scholarship in 1949, studying with Arthur Benjamin (piano), Sir William Harris (organ) and W.S. Lloyd Webber (composition), Hugh was the first Canadian to be Mann Organ Scholar at King's College Chapel, Cambridge, with Boris Ord, 1951-56. He made his London debut in 1955 at the Royal Festival Hall with Sir Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the premiere of Malcolm Arnold's Organ Concerto, a command performance in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II. Returning to Vancouver, Hugh served as organist & choirmaster at Ryerson United Church, 1957-73. He founded and conducted the Vancouver Cantata Singers, the Hugh McLean Consort and the CBC Vancouver Singers. He taught at the universities of Victoria (1967-69), British Columbia (1969-73) before joining the Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario, London, 1973. While at Western (1973-1995) he served as Dean (1973-1980) and taught organ, harpsichord and music history. During his tenure as organist at St. John the Evangelist, he collaborated with organ builder Gabriel Kney on the installation of the parish there, and again for the Roy Thompson Hall organ, Toronto, performing at the RTH inaugural Gala Concert, 1985. After a long and illustrious career in Canada, Hugh retired from Western to assume the post of Choirmaster/Organist at All Saints Episcopal Church, Winter Park, Florida, 1995-2010. While directing four choirs, his Senior Choir undertook four summer sojourns as "Guest Choirs in Residence" in Anglican Cathedrals of the U.K and Ireland. Regularly heard on the CBC, McLean appeared in every major Canadian center. He also broadcast with the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Swiss Radio, and NHK Japan. The first Canadian organist to tour the USSR, he also performed in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and two of Bach's churches (Muhlhausen and Leipzig's Thomaskirche). He gave many Canadian premieres including Hindemith's Organ Concertos No. 1 and No. 2, Vancouver (1970-72) and appeared as organ soloist with the Toronto Symphony in 1979, 1982 and 1985. Specializing in 17th and 18th century musicology studies, and awarded Canada Council grants to research archives in Japan, Poland, and the DDR, he served on the editorial board of the new C.P.E. Bach edition, and wrote 19 articles for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. A generous and loving husband, brother, uncle and grandpa, Hugh is survived by his wife Florence Anne and their children, Ross Alan and Olivia Anne; his sons Robert Andreas, John Stuart, and Hugh Dundas (by his late wife Gunlaug Julie Gaberg); his grandchildren Alexander, Ian and Julie (Robert); Simon, Rhys, Finlay, Iain and Henry (Hugh Dundas); Shion Ross (Ross Alan); his sisters Janet May (Bernard Smith), Kathleen Mary (Gerald Hill), and nieces and nephews Nancy, Donald, Douglas, and Marnie. Hugh's kindness and keen perceptions enriched the lives of many musicians and educators. One colleague at Western aptly summarized Hugh's personal gifts: "Hugh changed the entire direction of our lives. His encouragement and support has influenced our very existence at a most fundamental level. The quick precision of Hugh's mind and his brilliance as both performer and scholar lifted those of us with whom he made contact to levels beyond our own expectations with his clearly communicated assumption that we could do it. Hugh will remain with us as a vital and positive spirit that inspired our forward direction, and in our vivid recollections of the experiences we shared."13198775
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My hero!
Posted by Peter Osborn (Friend) On Saturday, August 12, 2017
Hugh....my friend and my hero and inspiration forever:-) Love, Peter
So sorry.
Posted by Jeanie Taylor (Anne's friend.) On Thursday, August 10, 2017
So sorry for your loss, Anne and also for your family. Your Hugh lived a remarkable life and contributed so much to the love of music. I read his obituary clear through and thought how much his joy of music gave to the world. I'm sure he is leading the choir in heaven!
Sincere sympathy
Posted by Jan and Fred Grundeman (Naples, Florida) On Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Anne, our hearts go out to you at your loss of Hugh. His story is amazing. Our love thoughts and prayers are with you.

Talented Friend
Posted by Chris and Barb (Friends) On Wednesday, August 9, 2017
We always enjoyed our time spect with Hugh and family. His amazing and very detailed and humorous stories showed impeccable recall and a generous spirit that will live on in our memories

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