Sydney Ernest Humphreys
The Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens
4665 Falaise Drive
Victoria, BC
HUMPHREYS, Sydney Ernest September 26, 1926 - February 16, 2015 After a long, distinguished, and fruitful career in music, Sydney Humphreys has reached his final cadence. Born in Chilliwack, BC, Sydney was gentle, patient, and kind - loved by all who knew him. He maintained complete focus and attention to detail in everything he undertook from photography, to tailoring, to learning the latest electronics. He had a curious mind and a voracious appetite for continuous learning. Sydney was a prodigious young violinist, winning a scholarship to the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London. It was there that he would eventually become a professor and a celebrated performer of chamber music. He had a profound passion, commitment, and energy for his craft. For example, in 1970, Sydney performed the seemingly insurmountable task of playing all of Beethoven's quartets and trios multiple times to celebrate the composer's bicentenary. As an integral member of the Aeolian String Quartet, Bath Festival Orchestra with Yehudi Menuhin, Trio Victoria, Purcell String Quartet and Concert Master of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, he travelled the world to spread joy through music. Upon the invitation of Robin Wood, Sydney returned to Canada in the 1970s to take a position as the Head of the Strings department at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, which he held for over thirty years. As a teacher, Sydney mentored his students to the full realization of their unique potential. As Jonathan Crow, a former student and now concertmaster of the Toronto Symphony said: "Many teachers can tell you how to play the violin, but few can help you to discover your own voice." That was Sydney's genius; that is his legacy. "If music be the food of love, play on." Sydney's music plays on, literally and metaphorically, in his students around the world, in the hearts and minds of his loving family in Victoria; wife, Mary, son, Max/Carolyn, daughter, Atarah/Felipe and granddaughter Siena, and in all his friends who loved him. Donations and many grateful thanks to the Alzheimer's Society of BC ( and to the excellent and caring staff of the Glengarry Hospital, Chandler Unit, of the Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation ( Tribute concert date to be announced. Condolences may be offered to the family at

Published by Victoria Times Colonist from Feb. 21 to Feb. 23, 2015.
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The Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens
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I was very sorry to find that Sydney had passed away. I had just been listening to his wonderful recording with the Aeolian Quartet of the Schubert Quintet.
I studied with Sydney at The Royal Academy of Music in London from 1961 to 1965 and I think that it was at that time that the quartet recorded for The Beatles (I think that it was Eleanor Rigby).
Sydney was a really inspiring teacher and he felt like a father figure to me. Many of my lessons were spent working on sonatas with my pianist. I remember one time having a lesson on the Max Bruch concerto, with Mary playing the piano for me. I often think of him and had thought at one time to visit him in Vancouver, but unfortunately that was not to happen. My thoughts are very much for Mary and the happy times she must have had with Sydney.
Graham Griffiths (ex Philharmonia Orchestra London)
September 24, 2015
dear Mary, I was thinking about you and Sydney today and something prompted me to look up on the web. I'm not very web -minded so it has taken a long time! So sorry to read that Sydney passed away in February. I send you my deepest sympathy at this very painful time . He was such a lovely man and such an inspiring and patient teacher.(La Folia?!) Very best wishes to you and the family. [email protected]
nee Wendy Southgate (NAM)
May 25, 2015
Dear Mary,
Sending my sincerest condolences to you, Atarah and Max.
I remember Sydney as such a warm, caring and talented man.
Kind regards from
Lois Peterson
February 28, 2015
The gift of music you were given.
became a gift of joy to those of us who approached excellence, and our love of music you gave to this world
Arthur Power
February 26, 2015
Sincere condolence to all the family.
Susan Scott
February 25, 2015
What a special and honourable man to have known. Nervous before singing a solo at a wedding, Sydney wisely reminded me that as artists we are the vessels who deliver the work that is bigger than us and I shall always remember that lesson...and that moment. Love to Mary and family!
Cam Culham
February 24, 2015

Sincere condolences to you all at this time. I have very fond memories of times shared with your family when we were involved with the conservatory.
Darlene (Legate) Hall
February 22, 2015
Dear Sydney, Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are of my weekly lesson time with you at Craigdarroch Castle in Victora. You were a true Master, and during my lesson time, you taught so much more than the violin. You enabled the potential for greatness in every student. You helped so many of us realize the gift of music. Many of your lessons were about life. They were about the importance of perseverance and stepping out of our own way so we could let the music flow through. Over the years I have thought of you often. Thank you so much for your inspiration. Rest in peace Sydney.
Mark Stepanick
February 22, 2015
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