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Henry T. Abley
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32 cm textual records
2 cm published materials
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Henry T. Abley, also often known as Harry, was an organist, choirmaster and composer, born in 1917 in Knighton, Wales. He studied at Trinity College of Music, London. He had fellowships at that college, and the London College of Music, and was an Associate of the Royal College of Organists.
He immigrated to Canada in the late 50s and worked as the organist at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Sault Ste Marie, ON from 1957-1959. From 1961-1967 he worked as the organist at First Baptist Church in Lethbridge, Alberta. Subsequently he worked as an organist and choirmaster at St. John’s Cathedral in Saskatoon, SK from 1968-1977, then at Third Avenue United Church also in Saskatoon, SK from 1979-1985. His last engagement as organist and choirmaster was at Church of the Advent in Montreal from 1985 until his death in 1994.
He was a recitalist known especially in Germany during the 70s and 80s, where he performed frequently in East and West Berlin, Bremen, Norden; as well as Geneva, Switzerland and Oxford and Cambridge, England. He excelled in music of the German School, but was also a fine exponent of Franck, Liszt, and 20th-century composers Olivier Messiaen and Jéhan Alain. Abley was also a composer of mainly sacred works, and his large output occasioned a 1981 concert in Saskatoon composed entirely of his music.
Following Henry Abley’s death in 1994, these materials were passed to his son, Mark Abley. Mark donated the collection to the University of Saskatchewan Archives and Special Collections in 2001.
Scope and content
The collection includes original hand-written musical scores; photocopies, mimeographs and fax copies of original scores (often with hand-written notes or annotations) composed by Abley; lyric sheets; printed scores – some on a home-printer and coil-bound. In addition to the original musical compositions, this fonds contains memorabilia and information about Henry Abley, his career, recitals and performances such as: newspaper clippings, information pamphlets, CBC radio programme information, choir contact lists, articles and scores written about/by Canadian [colleagues], concert programmes, personal and professional correspondence, church programs and newspaper clippings related to his career.
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Restrictions on access
One file of closed materials (until June 2040) is included. This is marked on file, in finding aid, and on box. This information is restricted as per Saskatchewan privacy legislation.
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No further accruals are expected.