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Ottawa Symphony Orchestra

Ottawa Youth Orchestra 1960 - 1980

(Based on the historical summary prepared March 1980.)

The Ottawa Youth Orchestra was founded in 1960 for the purpose of bringing together talented young musicians of the Ottawa area for the purpose of gaining experience in ensemble and orchestral playing through weekly rehearsals and performances before live audiences.  Since that time the orchestra was active continuously, usually presenting four public concerts each season.  Each year auditions were held in September and rehearsals began immediately.  The Orchestra operated as a night school class under the Continuing Education Division of the Ottawa Board of Education and a nominal fee was charged.  The Membership was limited to those from 12 to 24 years of age.  The demand was such that in 1971 an Associate Youth Orchestra was founded under the direction of J.K. Lussenburg with rehearsals being held at Canterbury High School.  In 1980, the Associate Ottawa Youth Orchestra was conducted by Dwight Rudisuela.

Over the years, the Ottawa Youth Orchestra developed under the following conductors and concertmasters:

Years Conductors Concertmasters
1960-61J.K. LussenburgMarguerite Forget
1961-6J.K. LussenburgPeggy Ryan
1962-63Dr. Frederick KaramPeggy Ryan
1963-64Dr. Frederick KaramMargaret Metcalfe
1964-65James HargreavesBenson Benevoy
1965-66Dirk Keetbaas, Sr.Joan Barrett
1966-67Dirk Keetbaas, Sr.Joan Barret
1967-68James ColesJoan Barrett
1968-69James ColesElizabeth Hubley
1969-70James ColesElizabeth Hubley
1970-71James ColesElizabeth Hubley
1971-72James ColesMargaret McKee
1972-73James ColesMargaret McKee
1973-74James ColesMargaret McKee
1974-75James ColesTodd Cadieux
1975-76James ColesTodd Cadieux
1976-77James ColesTodd Cadieux
1977-78James ColesMarie Savard
1978-79James ColesMarie Savard
1979-80Brian LawMarie Savard

Board of Directors, 1960:
Captain H.E. Morris - Founder, Director of Administration, and Founding Chairman
J.K. Lussenburg - Director of Music and Conductor

Board of Directors, 1980:
Dr. M. Haycock - Chairman
Mrs. H.E. Morris
E.R. Barrett
Dr. J. Kruus
Brian Law - Conductor
Robert Henderson - Horn, Orchestra President
Marie Savard - Non-voting
Robert Shields - Non-voting


In 1967, a trophy in memory of the late Captain H.E. Morris was donated to the Ottawa Music Festival and in 1970, the Ottawa Youth Orchestra established a scholarship of $100.00 to be awarded through the Ottawa Music Festival, at the discretion of the adjudicators, to the competitor showing the most promise in a solo class for orchestral or band instruments.

Winners over the years have been:

YearCapt. H.E Morris TrophyOYO ScholarshipOther Awards
1967 Judy Tant - Flute  
1968 Pamela Smith - French horn Joan Barrett - concertmaster - Ottawa Lions Club Award
1969John Tickner - Trumpet   
1970Douglas Walker - Flute  
1971 Elizabeth Hubley - ViolinMichael Kun - ViolinElizabeth Hubley - concertmaster - Business and Professional Women’s Club of Ottawa Scholarship
1972Pamela Smith - French hornPamela Smith - French horn 
1973Michael Kun - ViolinMichael Kun - Violin 
1974Mary-Ann Morris - FluteMary-Ann Morris - FluteMary-Ann Morris - Oboe - Ottawa Music Club Senior Scholarship
1975Geoffrey Pinhey - OboeDavid Evenchick - CelloLiliane Depocas - Flute - Senator M.M. Paterson Sr.
1976Bernard Bisha - CelloDouglas Brierly - ViolinJane Shellnutt - Violin - Ottawa Citizen Sr. Scholarship
1977 Susan Miller - CelloAndrew Lokan - Clarinet 
1978Robert Venables - TrumpetSusan Miller - Cello 
1979Jeremy McCoy - ContrabassJeremy McCoy - ContrabassDavid Fay - Contrabass - Ottawa Music Club Sr. Scholarship
1980Jeremy McCoy - ContrabassJeremy McCoy - Contrabass 

The list of musicians who now play in professional symphony orchestras and other smaller groups as well as those who have gone into the teaching profession, and who initially gained experience with the Ottawa Youth Orchestra, would be a very long one. Former members now play in many orchestras in North America and Europe.


• 1961, May 17 - First public concert of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra in Nepean High School Auditorium, Ottawa. J.K. Lussenburg conducting.
• 1962, Mar 3, - Concert in Morrisburg Civic Auditorium. Johannes Lussenburg conducting.
• 1962, Nov 25 - Concert with the Royal Military College Glee Club of Kingston, Ontario, in Glebe Collegiate Auditorium, Ottawa.
                          OYO conductor - Dr. F. Karam; concertmaster Peggy Ryan
                          RMC conductor - Dr. D.G.M. Diaper
                          Contralto soloist - Mona Harrison
• 1963, Jan 27 - Concert with the Royal Military College Glee Club in Queen Elizabeth College Auditorium, Kingston, Ontario with Mona Harrison, contralto soloist, in Brahms “Alto Rhapsody”
                         OYO conductor - Dr. F. Karam; concertmaster Peggy Ryan
                         RMC conductor - Dr. D.G.M. Diaper
                         OYO performed other items on the first half of the program.
• 1967, Mar 28 - Apr 1 - Centennial Tour sponsored by The Centennial Commission and The Iron Ore Co. of Canada Limited (Schefferville, Que., Labrador City and Sept Iles, Que.).
• 1968, Nov 16 - Joint concert OYO and the Ottawa Youth Wind Ensemble.
                          OYO conductor - James Coles; concertmaster - Elizabeth Hubley
                          OYWE conductor - James Hargreaves
• 1969, Feb 8 - Joint concert OYO and the Ottawa Youth Wind Ensemble in Brookfield High School Auditorium in aid of the Children’s Hospital Building Fund.
• 1969, Mar - Concert with the Concordia Male Chorus of Ottawa.
                   OYO conductor - James Coles; violin soloist - Joan Barrett
                   Concordia conductor - Robert Van Dine
                   Soloist - Mona Harrison, contralto, in J. Brahms “Alto Rhapsody”, in Glebe Collegiate Auditorium, Ottawa
                   Repeated in Deep River Community Centre Auditorium.
• 1970, Dec 26-31 - Newfoundland Tour.
                               Concerts in Corner Brook, Gander and St. John’s, Nfld.
                               Conductor - James Coles; concertmaster - Elizabeth Hubley
• 1971, May 11 - The Ottawa Civic Symphony and OYO combined to perform Morton Gould’s “Venice” in the Opera of the National Arts Centre.
• 1973, Mar 10 - Concert with the Deep River Choral Group, in High School of Commerce Auditorium, Ottawa, performed “Dona Nobis Pacem” by Vaughan Williams.
                          Soloists - Mary Lou Fallis, soprano (Toronto)
                                         - Stuart MacKinnon - baritone (Ottawa)
                          OYO conductor - James Coles; concertmaster - Margaret McKee
                          Choral Conductor - Janet MacDonald
• 1973, Mar 31 - Repeated the above concert in MacKenzie High School Auditorium, Deep River, Ontario.
• 1973, Aug 3 - OYO performed in the Opera of the National Arts Centre as part of the “Young August” program.
                        Conductor - James Coles; concertmaster - Margaret McKee
                        Soloist - Peter Van Gijn (French horn)
• 1973, Sep - appeared on CJOH television for the Ottawa-Carleton United Way Campaign.
• 1978, Jan 25 - Feb 4 - OYO was 1 of 7 youth orchestras at the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras at the Banff Centre, School of Fine Arts, Banff, Alta.  Performed a concert on Jan 31st, with Lawrence Leonard guest conductor.
• 1980, Feb 7 - Workshop with Pinchas Zukerman at Ottawa University.