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Edmund Phillip Assaly
1920 - 1983
E.Ph. Assaly
Edmund (Philip) Assaly (04/01/1920 - 01/01/1983), a Canadian pianist, composer, arranger, teacher, born in Rosetown, Saskatchewan, Canada, of Syrian parents, died Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America. ATCM 1934, LRSM 1938. He began studying piano at eight, and when his family moved to Saskatoon he studied piano and composition 1937-45 with Lyell Gustin. He was organist at St James Church and played on CBC radio. During World War II he took part in entertainment tours for the troops and began to compose. With Thelma Johannes O'Neill he formed a two-piano team which performed 1943-50 on radio and popularized his Suite for two pianos. In Winnipeg 1945-7 he gave recitals on radio and worked as an arranger for small ensembles. Assaly then settled in Montreal and took lessons 1947-50 from Michel Hirvy. In addition to his activities as pianist and arranger, he composed Mount Royal Fantasy for piano and orchestra (1948) and Carrefour, the winning work of the Montreal Ballet Festival (1950), among other works. In 1954 he recorded two of his piano pieces - Romance and Habanera - and his Sonata in A for violin and piano, as well as Alexander Brott's Invocation and Dance with the violinist George Lapenson (RCI 115; Brott's work was reissued on 7-ACM 20). Assaly was the orchestrator and music director 1957-8 for the musical comedy My Fur Lady and wrote several ballet scores 1960-2 for stage and TV. Using themes by Calixa Lavallée, he composed the music for the ballet Pointes sur glace, premiered in 1967 by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens at PDA. He moved in 1970 to Milwaukee to teach orchestration, arranging, and harmony at the University of Wisconsin. He also.composed and arranged for the summer concerts of the Milwaukee SO. Among his works are another ballet, Daytracks (1970), piano pieces, and two compositions commissioned by the Milwaukee SO - Salute to Black America (1973) and Trade Winds (1978) - as well as musical comedies and revues.
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Source:Robert Chase, Dies Irae: A Guide to Requiem Music, Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2003