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Memorable Manitobans: Rhys Thomas (1867-1932)

Choirmaster, vocal coach.

Born at Ystradgynlais, Wales in 1867, he was a boyhood friend of the eminent Welsh composer Dr Dan Protheroe. He studied in Swansea, Wales, with Dr Joseph Parry, subsequently at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music in London, and in Berlin. In 1901 he joined members of his family already living in Winnipeg, and was appointed choirmaster at Knox Church, a position he held until 1912. Performances of works such as Messiah and Samson by Handel, Creation by Haydn and Lobgesang by Mendelssohn established his reputation as a choral conductor during his early years in the city. In July 1903 he was on staff at the newly opened Winnipeg College of Music. In 1908 he was chosen as an adjudicator at the National Eisteddfod of Wales held that year in Swansea. In 1919 he was founding president of the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers’ Association. His most notable students included May Lawson, Nina Dempsey, Gertrude Newton and W. Davidson Thomson. He left Winnipeg in 1927 and died in London in 1932.

Sources:

This page was prepared by Keith Davies Jones.

Page revised: 15 August 2010

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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