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Barrie Cabena: Biography

Barrie Cabena
1933 -
Region: Ontario

Barrie Cabena

Barrie Cabena has a rich musical background. He was born in Melbourne, Australia and after studies in England he made Canada his home and the inspiration for his creative life.

Dr. Cabena has served as church organist in London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph where his choirs gained a reputation for quality and skill. He has worked as an accompanist with choral directors such as Elmer Iseler, Jan Overduin, Noel Edison, and Howard Dyck. He has appeared as organist and harpsichordist with many orchestras. After 27 years on the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University, Barrie took early retirement in 1996, but as Professor Emeritus of Wilfrid Laurier University, continues to maintain a keen interest in music education.

He has a long history of involvement in classical music festivals, beginning with the Church in the Arts Festival in London, Ontario, the Three Choirs Festival which was the precursor to the Elora Festival as well as providing artistic guidance on boards for many arts organizations. He is currently the Artistic Advisor of the Guelph Spring Festival through to 2007.

Dr Cabena has performed widely as a solo organist, harpsichordist and pianist in Canada, the United States, Australia, England and Germany, and has served as adjudicator for many competitions. He is a prolific composer (454 opuses as of 2003); most recently he was commissioned by Jeunesse Musicale du Canada for an unaccompanied violin sonata which was performed by Jonathan Crow of the Montreal Symphony and broadcast on Radio Canada and an organ work commissioned by William O’Meara which was premiered at the Turin Organ Festival in Italy. His Requiem for the Victims of Terrorism written in 2001 in response to the September 11 tragedy was recently recorded for broadcast on CBC radio. His organ and choral works have been broadcast on CBC radio for over 37 years.

He has been much honoured in the profession; the Atlantic School of Theology with a Doctorate in Divinity (1995) for his services to church music, the Academie française (Silver Medal) for his services to French music, the Royal Canadian College of Organists with an honourary Fellowship, and Musician of the Year Award (1996) from the Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Council for his contribution to community arts.

In 2003 he was made a life time member of the North American musicians union, and a life time member of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.

In addition to music Dr. Cabena has written a sizable quantity of verse, much of it humourous. He has used a numerous of his verses, particularly those for children in his compositions.

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