Kelsey Jones

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Herbert Kelsey Jones (June 17, 1922 – October 10, 2004) was a Canadian composer,[1][2] pianist, harpsichordist, and music teacher.[3]

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in South Norwalk, Norwalk, Connecticut; he grew up in Portland, Maine and moved to New Brunswick in 1945.[4]


In 1950, as a young man, Jones founded the Saint John Symphony Orchestra, now known as Symphony New Brunswick,[5][6] and served as its conductor until 1953.

Jones moved to Montreal, Quebec in 1954, where he became a member of the faculty of McGill University's Faculty of Music. He composed "Songs of Experience" for the Montreal Bach Choir in 1955.[7] He also performed as a solo pianist and duo pianist with his wife Rosabelle Jones (née Smith) from the early 1950s until an accident that rendered her paraplegic in 1974.

At McGill Jones taught a variety of courses through the years, including History, Harpsichord and Piano, and Theory. he was best known as a teacher of Counterpoint (Modal, Tonal, Fugue & Canon). He became a Canadian citizen in 1956.[8]

In Montreal, he was active as a teacher, performer and composer. He was a founding member of the Baroque Trio of Montreal, along with Mario Duschenes (flute) and Melvin Berman (oboe). He recorded with Jean-Pierre Rampal, Duschenes, and Kenneth Gilbert on their sevel album project, The art of the Flute.[9]

His work "Fantasy on a Theme" was first performed by the Kingston Symphony Orchestra in 1976.[10]

Jones retired from McGill University in 1984 after which he was granted the title Emeritus Professor.


Some of Jones's compositions include: "Miramichi Ballad", "Sam Slick", Nonsense Songs (Five Limericks & The Table and the Chair (E. Lear)), "Four Pieces for Recorder Quartet", "Nonsense Songs", Prophecy of Micah, "Passacaglia and Fugue"[1] and Jazzum Opus Unum.


  1. ^ a b Eleanor V. Stubley (12 February 2008). Compositional Crossroads: Music, McGill, Montreal. 5, Issues 4-6. MQUP. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-7735-7743-5.
  2. ^ Canadian annual review. 1961. p. 400.
  3. ^ ITEA Journal. 32. International Tuba-Euphonium Association. 2004. p. 193.
  4. ^ Citizen. 10-12. 1964. p. 11.
  5. ^ "Music in Saint John". The Canadian Encyclopedia, Irfôna Larkin, Philip M. Wults, Ellen M. Drewery. February 7, 2006
  6. ^ "Counting down to Christmas". Telegraph Journal, Dec 22, 2018.
  7. ^ Keith Campbell MacMillan; John Beckwith (1975). Contemporary Canadian composers. Oxford University Press. p. 108.
  8. ^ Kelsey Jones at The Canadian Encyclopedia, by Betty Nygaard King, Clifford Ford, June 21, 2007
  9. ^ Special Merit Picks. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 27 April 1968. p. 46. ISSN 0006-2510.
  10. ^ Friedemann Sallis; Robin Elliott; Kenneth DeLong (6 August 2012). Centre and Periphery, Roots and Exile: Interpreting the Music of István Anhalt, György Kurtág, and Sándor Veress. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-55458-296-9.

External links[edit]