Charles A. E. Harriss

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Charles Harriss, 1903

Charles Albert Edward Harriss (16 or 17 December 1862 – 31 July 1929) was an English then Canadian composer, impresario, educator, organist-choirmaster and conductor.

Earnscliffe Residence in Ottawa, Ontario

Early life and education[edit]

Harriss was born in Staningly, Yorkshire, England, in 1863. After his family moved to Toronto in 1859, Harris soon began to study the organ, and at the age of eight began to play for services at Parliament Street Methodist Church.[1]


Harriss composed a number of hymns and other choral works.[2][3]

In 1894 Harriss became the founding director of the McGill Conservatorium of Music, supervising 26 music instructors.[4] In 1896 he composed a dramatic saga entitled Torquil, which was premiered in 1900 at Massey Hall.[5] He continued to compose religious music, including masses and cantatas.[6]

Harris organized a series of music festivals throughout Canada.[7] In 1910 he published several patriotic works.[8]


In 1897, Harriss married Ella Beatty-Shoeberger, daughter of John Beatty, M.D., Professor of Sciences in Victoria University, Cobourg, Ontario, and Eleanor Armstrong.[9]

Death and legacy[edit]

Harriss died in 1929. His papers are on file at the National Library of Canada.[10]

Selected works[edit]

  • Daniel before the King, dramatic cantata, 1884
  • Torquil, lyric opera, 1894
  • Festival Mass, 1901
  • Coronation Mass for Edward VII, 1903
  • Pan, choric idyll, 1904
  • The Sands of Dee, ballad, 1904
  • The Crowning of the King, ode, 1911
  • The Admiral, comic opera, 1902
  • Canadian Fantasie, 1904


  1. ^ Hall, Frederick A. (15 December 2013) [14 June 2007]. "C. L. M. Harris". The Canadian Encyclopedia (online ed.). Historica Canada.
  2. ^ Elaine Keillor (18 March 2008). Music in Canada: Capturing Landscape and Diversity. McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP. p. 353. ISBN 978-0-7735-3391-2.
  3. ^ André de Quadros (16 August 2012). The Cambridge Companion to Choral Music. Cambridge University Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-107-49339-1.
  4. ^ Robin Elliott; Gordon Ernest Smith (2001). Istvan Anhalt: Pathways and Memory. McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-7735-2102-5.
  5. ^ John Beckwith (1997). Music Papers: Articles and Talks, 1961–1994. Dundurn. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-919614-72-7.
  6. ^ "Choral composition". The Canadian Encyclopedia
  7. ^ George Alfred Proctor (1980). Canadian music of the twentieth century. University of Toronto Press. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978-0-8020-5419-7.
  8. ^ Musical News. 38. 1910. p. 146.
  9. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 149.
  10. ^ Julian Rushton (5 July 2017). Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music. Taylor & Francis. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-351-56764-0.

External links[edit]