Music Online. Under the Radar
“One of Canada’s most prominent and prolific composers”
Srul Irving Glick
(1934 – 2002)
Welcome to our weekly Sunday music section
“Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians.”
By David Eisenstadt
TORONTO. September 4/22 – One of Canada’s most prominent and prolific Jewish music composers.
That best describes Srul Irving Glick who wrote music in most major forms – chamber, choral, liturgical, orchestral, and vocal.
Born into a Jewish musical family on September 8, 1934, his parents David and Ida Glick emigrated from Russia to Canada in 1924. His father served as a cantor at several Toronto synagogues; his older brother Norman was a professional clarinetist.
The cantorial and classical music repertoire combination influenced Glick’s development, who sang in his father’s choir and began piano lessons early. At 15 he knew he would become a composer. Much of his music over the years was composed on an upright Heintzman piano.
Glick attended the University of Toronto earning a Bachelor of Music (1955) and Master of Music (1993) degrees in composition and theory. In the 1950s, he studied with masters Max Deutsch and Louis Saguer in Paris and Darius Milhaud in Aspen; all urged Glick to write in his own voice and forget about the pressures of writing serial or avant-garde music.
While continuing to compose, he became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) classical music producer in 1962. That gig lasted until 1986. He produced over 150 CBC recordings, winning a Juno Award and seven Canada Music Council’s Grand Prix du Disque. Glick taught theory and composition at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music from 1963-69 and York University from 1985-86.
Srul Irving Glick – Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra (1/3)
Most of his compositions were commissioned with the first in 1964. The Canadian Encyclopedia confirms he wrote Visions Through Darkness for the Elora Festival; Northern Sketches for Festival of Sound; Psalm for Orchestra and Sonata for Orchestra for the Hamilton Philharmonic; Fantasy for the 1987 Montreal International Competition; String Quartet No. 1 for the Orford String Quartet; The Hour Has Come and Songs of Creation for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir; and The Reawakening for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
The CBC commissioned him to write music for operatic contralto Maureen Forrester, the Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, and tenor Jon Vickers. He also wrote for the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, saxophonist Paul Brodie, Camerata, the Canadian Piano Trio, Daniel Domb, the Elmer Iseler Singers, Rivka Golani, Ofra Harnoy, the Kingston Symphony, the McGill Chamber Orchestra, Suzanne Shulman, the Toronto Children’s Chorus, and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.
In Toronto, he became Beth Tikvah (Conservative) Synagogue’s choir conductor in 1969 and in 1978 was named composer-in-residence. There, through 2002, he wrote most of his liturgical music and Yiddish folk song arrangements, leading choir tours across Canada, the United States, and Israel. Beth Tikvah recorded his privately distributed LP Music from the Jewish Liturgy. Glick also recorded Suite Hebraique No. 2 and Gathering In as the conductor of the Chamber Players of Toronto.
Suite hébraïque No. 2: VIII. Circle Dance
Charles Osborne, Senior Cantor of Toronto’s Temple Sinai (Reform) Synagogue told me that, “as a young cantor/composer starting out, Srul was unfailingly friendly and encouraging to me. I know he influenced and supported the efforts of many Jewish composers in the Toronto area and beyond. And his music set new benchmarks of excellence both in the level of proficiency expected of its performers, and in the impact, it had on its listeners.” The Canadian Encyclopedia notes that Glick received the Yuval Award in 2000 for his “lifelong commitment to the composition of music that captures the heart and touches the soul.” Add, in 2001, the Crown of Honor (Ateret Kavod) Award from the United Synagogue of America, the J.I. Segal Award for his Canadian Jewish music contributions, and the Cantor’s Assembly of America Kavod Award “for his lifelong dedication to the music of the synagogue, to cantorial chant and cantors.”
He garnered an Honourary Fellowship from the Royal Canadian College of Organists “for his contribution to musical life in Canada, and in particular to the music of the synagogue.” Plus, a Solomon Schechter Award for Beth Tikvah’s music program and in 1995 a second Schechter Award for the best musical program of a North American synagogue. Glick received a Governor General’s medal in 1992 in honour of Canada’s 125th Anniversary of Confederation “for his contribution to Canadian culture” and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994 for “outstanding achievement, service to Canada and humanity at large.”
Glick’s music lives on and is performed regularly around the globe. In 1967, he composed a ballet, Heritage; plus 19 orchestral, 21 chamber, four piano, and 25 voice/choir works during his lifetime.
Remaining active as a composer, lecturer, and conductor of his compositions until his death in 2002, he was married to Dorothy Sandler Glick and later to Sara Wunch.♦
Credits: srulirvingglick.com; Angela Park – Topic/YouTube; musicanth/YouTube
David Eisenstadt is the author of Under the Radar, 30 Notable Canadian Jewish Musicians. He is Founding Partner of tcgpr.com and a graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and the University of Calgary.
A complete list of David Eisenstadt’s articles can be viewed under Music Online in our category section. Do you have comments or questions about this article? Contact David Eisenstadt at
-I admire Glick’s compositions even though it is not a music genre I favour. However, living in a community bereft of much Jewish influence, as I listened to his compositions on YouTube I immediately became a fan of his pieces that were of Jewish liturgy and many Yiddish inspired. – LG, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
–I enjoyed your article on Srul Glick. I attended some music programs at Toronto’s Beth Tikvah when a former Temple Sinai Cantor Gershon Silins performed with Tibor Kovari. Your articles are very interesting and I almost always read them. – BS, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada