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Ezra SCHABAS
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EZRA SCHABAS C.M., O.Ont. April 24, 1924 - October 12, 2020 Born in New York City on April 24, 1924, son of Hyman Schabas and Minnie Anker, Ezra Schabas passed away peacefully in Toronto on October 12, 2020. He leaves his beloved wife, Ann (née Fairley), whom he married in 1949, five children, William (Penelope), Richard (Patti), Margaret, Michael (Veronica) and Paul (Alison), twelve grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music before serving in the United States Army in France and Germany during World War 2, as a member of an Air Force Band. He then completed a Master's degree at Columbia University. Following an academic appointment at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, in 1952 he made Toronto his home. A distinguished clarinettist and an innovative and dedicated teacher, he trained and nurtured young musicians at the Royal Conservatory of Music, of which he was the Principal from 1978 to 1983, and at the Faculty of Music of the University of Toronto, where he headed the performance and opera department from 1968 to 1978. He was deeply involved in founding the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 1960 and was its first manager. He was a prolific author, writing biographies of important musicians and histories of the Royal Conservatory and the Canadian Opera Company. He received the City of Toronto book award for his biography of Sir Ernest MacMillan. An enthusiastic hiker and tennis player, he also served as president of the Arts and Letters Club of which he was an active member for many years. Donations may be made in his memory to the Royal Conservatory of Music.

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Published in The Globe and Mail from Oct. 14 to Oct. 18, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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24 entries
October 25, 2020
It has been more than a decade since being with Ann and Ezra in BC on one of their visits to Vancouver. Ezra was invariably an engaging, curious, and delightful host over the course of our 18 years in Toronto when my late husband, Charles Meadow, joined Ann as a professor as she became dean of the faculty of information studies at the University of Toronto. If I had Ann's home address I would send a more personal note. Meanwhile, my condolences to each and all of the Schabas family, with abundant thanks and appreciation for your friendship, wit, hospitality, to us, and our family. What an inspiration and gift Ezra was, and each of you embraces a bit of his spirit.
Mary Louise Meadow
Friend
October 22, 2020
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Jamie Cameron
October 21, 2020
Time well spent is a life well lived. In honour of one of the memorable figures in my musical life. Wishing all the family comfort and peace.
Barbara
Student
October 19, 2020
We were Ezra and Anne's next door neighbours on Lake of Bays for over 15 years. They were great neighbours and lovely people to be around. Our condolences to Anne and the Schabas family in this difficult time.
Wayne and Sue Shaw
Wayne and Sue Shaw
Neighbor
October 19, 2020
Ezra was my great uncle, and he liked to identify as my GREAT uncle - which he was! He was always so energetic and engaged and fun. Ann and Ezra hosted me for dinners while I was at U of T and I saw them through the years, in Toronto, in Stratford, at my wedding, with my daughters. They were a formidable couple and took great pride in all the family's accomplishments (of which there are so many!!!). My last visit with Ezra was in June 2019 so that he could advise my daughter Carys about a future in music. She is now proudly following in his footsteps at Juilliard and I only wish they could have had more time together. I'm so glad we had that last visit. He will be missed. Deepest sympathy to the Ann and the extended Schabas family.
Jennifer Skinner Sutherland
Family
October 18, 2020
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Nancy Cartwright
October 17, 2020
I always enjoyed seeing Ezra and Anne at the Arts and Letters Club. He will be missed. !y condolences to Anne.
Marvyne Jenoff
Acquaintance
October 16, 2020
My partner Kathleen McMorrow and I have known Ezra and Ann Schabas for many years as good friends and admired U of T colleagues. Ezra's passing is sad news. He had an unusually long and active life as a performer (clarinet, conducting), teacher, and administrator, followed by a long and successful "retired" career as a writer and researcher in musical history. He was also a devoted husband and the father of an exceptionally gifted family. We send sincerest sympathies to them all.
John Beckwith
October 16, 2020
My friend Raja and I enjoyed playing bridge with Ezra and Ann for many years in the Midtown Seniors Bridge Club in Toronto. Raja has since died, and I will miss Ezra, too. I send Ann my condolences and best wishes.
Jim Mason
Friend
October 15, 2020
Toronto was so fortunate to have Ezra Schabas. His legacy will not only be his music but also his family of three generations.
Sue Mortimer
Acquaintance
October 15, 2020
Fond memories of meeting and conversing with Ezra at friends' Paul and Alison's home. He was engaging, charming, and had a gentle personality. His support, well into his 90's, for our annual writers' group reading will be missed. Shreekesh and I offer our deepest sympathies to Paul, Alison, the grandchildren, and the entire Schabas family.
Shila Desai
Friend
October 15, 2020
R.I.P , Ezra Schabas .
Younsi Maher
Significant Other
October 14, 2020
I remember Ezra with his clarinet and Rod Sorley at the piano aand a third A&L member (or perhaps a friend, as a lunch guest?) at the ARTS & Letters Club "TGIFridays" Buffet Lunch gatherings . After lunch in the Great Hall Ezra and Rod would move to the Lounge next door and take over the grand piano in the corner -- and have the joint swingin'! This would be early 2000s and it was wonderful to see it come together. Those men could jam anytime, anywhere.
Naomi Hunter
Coworker
October 14, 2020
A great musician, an accomplished author, a dedicated educator, and a recognized innovator in all that he undertook, Ezra Schabas was an enormous influence in the Canadian musical world. For those of us who were fortunate enough to have made his acquaintance through the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, Ezra was a wonderful person to be around. Always gracious, always good-natured, Ezra brought a lifetime of musical experience and an acute perceptiveness to his observations, which we constantly welcomed. You will be much missed, Ezra.
Our condolences to you, Ann. The Club is thinking of you.

Denis Kulesha
Friend
October 14, 2020
I am saddened to earn of Ezra's passing. He was a vital force in Canadian music, and he touched many lives and helped launch many careers, including mine. I am enormously grateful to him for his guidance during my student years and for his generosity as a collaborator later. Requiescat in pace.
Tim Maloney
Student
October 14, 2020
So sad to hear this news. I first met Ezra in the emergency room at Women's College Hospital in 1975. He thought he was dying but thankfully he was wrong! I remained his physician for some 15 years until I moved away. We had so many wonderful conversations over the years much to the annoyance of patients that followed. So it is with some amusement that he proved himself wrong by living to such a ripe old age! There were many delightful moments during that time and he was well able play a mean jazz clarinet! He was forever proud of all the family although I can vouch for some agonising moments during the student uprisings at the U of T in the 1970's! So Anne and the family my sincere condolences, he will be sorely missed by many but there is consolation in a life truly well lived.
David Moorsom
Acquaintance
October 14, 2020
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Harriet Sachs
October 14, 2020
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sharon shore
October 14, 2020
Dear Anne, I just heard the news from John. We are very very sorry to have lost Ezra. He was such a live wire. So interesting. So kind and congenial. I always loved seeing him at Arts and Letters as well as the occasional party at our house. Funny enough I was thinking about him on Monday.

Our love to you during this most difficult time. Mitzi Pepall
Mitzi Pepall
Friend
October 14, 2020
May he rest in peace and may all family and friends take comfort from memories of time shared with this warm gentleman.
Gerald Sherwood
Acquaintance
October 14, 2020
Our heartfelt condolences to you, Paul, Alison and family on the passing of your remarkable and talented father and father-in-law: great loss for the Canadian arts community. Thoughts and prayers are with you and Ann. Anne Marie and Peter
Anne Marie Marchetti Peter Wardle
Friend
October 14, 2020
Dear Ezra,
It was always a delight to be able to spend an evening with you and Ann when visiting Toronto. Your hospitality and sense of humour underpinned many engaging conversations that I realise only provided a glimpse into the scope and scale of your experiences and achievements. You lived life to the full and equally left your family and friends a magnificent legacy to celebrate and enjoy. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known you. Rest in peace. Steve Hoskins
Steve Hoskins
Friend
October 13, 2020
I was a member of MPC - Musical Performance and Communication - a program Ezra started back in the 1980's I think. I have such fond memories of that year, musicians were paid and spent six months training, performing, doing workshops - an invaluable experience to help bridge the gap between the technical education a musician gets and the real life skills needed to be an effective performer and professional. It was a wonderful program, and I have such fond memories of Ezra who passionately spearheaded it. Sorry to hear of his passing, but he had such a wonderful productive and influential life and left his mark on many including me.
Logan J Medland
Student
October 13, 2020
Mr. Schabas was a wonderfully accomplished musician, scholar and family man. He contributed greatly to Canadian society.
Jim McMurtry
Acquaintance
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