GEORGE BROUGH
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GEORGE BROUGH Pianist, Organist, Harpsichordist, Opera Coach. Born Boston, Lincolnshire, England, February 25, 1918; died Toronto, Ontario, September 15, 2015. ARCM 1938, FRCO 1938, LRAM 1943, D.MUS (Oxford) 1943. Predeceased by his parents and four siblings; survived by nieces and nephews in England; mourned and missed forever by his friend and companion of 43 years, Simone Desilets and by his many colleagues and friends. George immigrated to Canada upon completion of his studies and quickly entered into the musical life of the country, first in Halifax and then in Toronto and nationally, working with organizations such as the Canadian Opera Company, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto and York University, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, The Banff Centre where he spent 41 summers as collaborative pianist and opera coach. He continued to provide secure musical support for hundreds of performers, from students to professional artists, until into his late 80s. Music was at the heart of his life. His natural ability to make musical sense on sight of any score put in front of him, no matter how diverse or difficult, made him much appreciated and sought-after in the musical world; his natural quiet charm earned the affection of many. More information about his many musical activities over 65 years can be found in part in The Canadian Encyclopedia. Funeral to take place at Chapel of St. James-the-Less, St. James Cemetery and Crematorium, 635 Parliament St., Toronto, on Thursday, September 24th at 2:00 p.m.; celebration of life is planned for a later date. Heartfelt and lasting gratitude to the caring staff at Kensington Gardens, where George spent the last 3 years of his life. Donations in his memory may be made to one of George's favourite charities: Oxfam, The Salvation Army, Save the Children Canada; or to any musical organization.


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Published in Toronto Star on Sep. 19, 2015.
Memories & Condolences
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47 entries
November 1, 2015
So sorry to hear of the passing of such a wonderful, gentle man. Dr. Brough accompanied every one of my student recitals. He was a brilliant musician, unparalleled sight reader and phenomenal collaborator. Very grateful for all I learned from him.
Wendy Rose
October 26, 2015
Working with George over a 25 year period was such a musical delight. A brilliant accompanist, I watched George read an open orchestra score & translate it effortlessly to the pianoforte keyboard. I am certain there will be an opportunity for George to continue his work with the spiritual choirs, soloists & orchestra members who preceded him to the ethereal conservatory of music.
Edgar Murdoch
October 25, 2015
Thank you for the music and the memories.
Ron Mah and Carol Fujino
Ron Mah
September 23, 2015
We met George around 2000, when my daughter was in the Suzuki cello program at the Royal Conservatory and George played for the group classes, as well as for the solo recitals. My daughter, who was about four or five when she first met him, fell in love with him right away. She sensed his kind, gentle spirit, and enjoyed just being around him. Sometimes, after class, we would give him a ride to the subway, which always made my daughter happy. Watching him play for the Suzuki groups over the next six or seven years was a joy. Despite being so elderly, he was always professional and alert, always coming in when and where he should to help support the little ones learning, and playing with such a generous and helpful energy. I knew I was witnessing brilliance whenever George was accompanying during the solo recitals. Some of the kids played in circles, no idea where they were, but George always managed to find them, and seamlessly switch from one phrase to another without skipping a beat. And if the child had totally stalled, he knew exactly what to play to remind the child where they were so that they could pick up and carry on, sometimes without the audience even knowing there had been a screw up. He was like liquid on the keyboard, in terms of his ability to follow some of these "lost" little musicians! I've never seen anyone surpass his ability to support/find/carry/help a performer, and to maintain such a beautiful calm while doing so. Watching George accompany the Suzuki program for all those years was one of my favourite parts of going to the group classes and recitals. My daughter and I shall both miss you George, but are so grateful to have known you and learned so much from you over the years!
Leslie and Magali Toy
September 23, 2015
I well remember hearing Dr. Brough play Cosi Fan Tutti with the COC on tour when I was a teenager, and was thrilled to meet and work with him as a colleague at the RCM many years later. His contributions to music in Canada are immeasurable...and it was also inspiring that he continued making music for so many years after retirement age. A truly gracious gentleman.
Karen Quinton
September 23, 2015
Over the past 14 years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know George professionally and personally. His many stories about the Banff music festival and his trips to Barbados and the east coast revealed his personal side and his endearing nature. I looked forward to meeting with him and seeing his smile on a regular basis. I viewed him as a role model to many people. My condolences to Simone and the family. He will be greatly missed.
Sincerely,
Dan Totoian
Senior Financial Advisor
Dan Totoian
September 23, 2015
George graced many lives. I remember him well from the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Thank you for the music.
Val Koziol
September 22, 2015
I have many fond memories of George and eventually George and Simone dating back to my childhood. I always enjoyed their visits. George was a musical inspiration for me. Lillian and I send our condolences to Simone.
John Payzant
September 22, 2015
Dr. George was my Uncle Dick, I remember him well. Love Elizabeth, Brian, Robert
& Cindy
September 21, 2015
Although I'm not a musician, my job put me in the company of musicians and I encountered Dr. Brough very early in my career. As you look through the postings in the guest book, the words that keep recurring are "gentle", "warm", "humble" and other descriptions along that line. He was completely bereft of an ego and I always found him a joy to be with. I usually worked with him as an organist rather than a pianist and in my opinion, his skills in registration reflected his British background. I fondly remember one of the opening concerts in Roy Thomson Hall where he was scheduled to perform the Poulenc Organ Concerto with the Toronto Symphony. As many of you know, this piece begins with a fortissimo chord on the organ, but, unfortunately, the organ had been tampered with and when he landed on the keys to begin the piece - nada, not a sound. George was completely unfazed and just announced that we would have to take a brief unscheduled intermission while the organ was reset. I will miss him! My condolences to his devoted companion Simone! R.I.P. George!
Dave Burnham
September 21, 2015
Such a lovely man. I remember him well from The Banff Centre. My condolences to his family.
PL
September 21, 2015
He was a great musical gentleman.
Kerry Stratton
September 21, 2015
All of us at The Banff Centre express our condolences to George's family and friends. He was so inspirational and instrumental to the developing careers of many Canadian and international artists. There is a place in these glorious mountains that will always have a great memories of him and he enabled during his 41 summers here.
Julian Sleath
September 21, 2015
I had a privilege to be a member of the UoT choir with Lori Doloff as a choir director and Dr. Brough as our collaboarative pianist. These were the best years for the choir. We really reached to the stars! Dr. Brough was a fantastic musician and a real gentleman.
Eva Zuber
September 21, 2015
A giant accompanist for generations with outstanding musical insight and at the same time always the kindest gentleman, he will be sorely missed.
Nancy Nourse
September 20, 2015
Dr. Brough was an amazing soul. I had the honour of having him accompany a university community choir that I conducted during the 90's and playing piano duet accompaniment with him for a choral performance. He was the quintessential gentleman, and made even the most novice musician feel like they were worth all of his artistic attention. What a gift he gave all those who worked with him. My condolences to family and friends.
Lori Dolloff
September 20, 2015
Dr. George Brough!
You were such a huge part of my life during opera school and the COC. I can still hear you playing Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" and Somers' "Louis Riel" so beautifully! Your musical guidance, gentle ways, and belief in me provided a lasting foundation for all my ensuing musical endeavours. I will never forget how honoured I was that you recognized and remembered me when Errol and I were so fortunate to have seen you at U of T only a couple of years ago. You were a giant among musicians and will never be forgotten. My condolences to Simone.
Ann Cooper Gay
September 20, 2015
His playing helped me enormously when I was a student in Toronto in the 60s. A wonderful kind man.
margot burton
September 20, 2015
On New Year's eve gentle lovely George would play Auld Lang Syne on our beater upright piano. We would apologise for the instrument's condition and he was always so gracious saying it was fine and that what was important was that we should all sing. He would sit and eat spicy gingerbread cookies while the cats took turns to sit in his lap, and our young people took time to chat. I will always remember his delighted smile when even our timid dwarf bunny was happy to be his friend. What a lucky rare gift it was to have known him.
jb
September 20, 2015
He was a giant at the keyboard and a modest and unshowy person. Gracious, friendly and generous with his time. My condolences to his family.
Alexa Wing
September 20, 2015
George was an amazing musician, and a very humble and beautiful man. He accompanied the choirs at York University and was revered by everyone. He will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, George.
Lisette Canton
September 20, 2015
It will be hard to think of musical life in Canada without George Brough; he has been such an important part of it for so long. A fine human being and a brilliant musician. My heart is with you Simone.

Jim Norcop
September 20, 2015
What a dedicated life to making music! Kind, generous, humble, engaged in music always...thank you, and rest in peace. Condolences to Simone and all who he influenced.
Lorna MacDonald
September 19, 2015
He came to Ottawa and played with Peter Smith and I in two concerts..... A lovely man and a fine musician.
September 19, 2015
I first met Dr. Brough at the opera school in Banff and worked with him many times over the years. Such a fine musician and a lovely man. My condolences to you Simone.
Kate Tapp Mock
September 19, 2015
George performed solo piano at our Home Music Club concert at our home about 6 yrs ago. After an excellent performance ( of Chopin, I believe), I thanked him and said "I was going to say that I hope I can still phrase like that when I am his age, but correct my 50-yr old self, saying, I hope I will ever be able to phrase that well!!!!" Although frail in years then, once at the piano, his keen mind and supple fingers came alive. What an inspiration!
John Soloninka
September 19, 2015
George Brough was a true gentleman, a tremendous musician, a wonderful colleague and friend. He will be greatly missed.
Lydia Adams
September 19, 2015
Dear friends and family of Dr. Brough,

I watched and listened. I love what I saw and love what I heard. He remains as the music star to return to. God Bless.
Terry McDonough
September 19, 2015
I met Dr. Brough while a young artist at the COC. A gentle soul who was a tremendous ally when making music. My condolences to his family.
Rebecca Hass
September 19, 2015
Remembering....
Thank you Dr. Brough
for your quiet kindness,
talent and piano
accompanying during
Madame R. Landry's
French Diction class
(and other diction classes)
from myself and other
Voice Alumni at U of T.
Much appreciated.
Rest In Peace.
Larissa Szepetyk Fraser
September 19, 2015
Thank you Dr Brough for your dedication and patience with so many of us. I remember the wry sense of humour most of all. A regular fixture in conducting and French melodie. A true gentleman in every sense of the word.
Robert Stewart
September 19, 2015
I remember the small smile (always present), and quiet good cheer. Thank you, George.
Stuart Laughton
September 19, 2015
Sending my condolences to Simone. George was such a lovely man and brilliant musician. I have fond memories of working on Knoxville, Summer of 1915 with him. I was grateful for his guidance and his quiet sense of humour. I am so sorry for your loss.
Tracy Smith Bessette
September 19, 2015
I sincerely always hoped that Dr Brough would be around forever. He was an encouraging, kind, and gentle voice as I struggled to be a musician. After many years, and while moving around the world, I would still remember one of my first teachers. Those Barbers, Schuberts, and begginers' Italian songs... My sincerest and heartfelt condolences to his family.
Elena Cirkovic
September 19, 2015
My condolences to you Simone. George's life was truly a monument to music. Such a thoroughly excellent musician, I feel gifted to have known him and had him as my accompanist in Banff in the 70's as well as for my group classes at the RCM.

Jonathan Ingham
September 19, 2015
He was a kind and gentle man, who helped me develop into a better musician. I think of him fondly and will miss his charm.
Jason Galamaga
September 19, 2015
Although we learned a lot in conducting class, Dr Brough's playing was what students commented on. Dr Brough left a real mark. He was a great musician.
Jamie Roblin
September 19, 2015
With respect and admiration, I remember Dr. Brough from his time with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
Susan Suchard
September 19, 2015
Dear George will be in the company of angels. Always a firm foundation for Mendelssohn rehearsals and concerts, always giving encouragement and showing his undeniable talent ,to get you through any audition or recital.This gentle spirit we will never forget.
Anne Thomson- King
September 19, 2015
I tuned George's old Heinzman upright piano for many years. It was rock solid and only went slightly out after 2 years!
He was always kind and accomodating in scheduling appointments. I realized he didn't need a grand piano because music was in his mind and heart, and he only needed to keep his fingers active. I respect your great contribution to music in Toronto and Canada and doing so in such a gentle manner George, RIP!
george stimpson
September 19, 2015
George was the quiet, unassuming but absolutely awesome musical support for me and so many of my colleagues. My heartfelt condolences to Simone. Waft him, angels, to the skies.
Robert Missen
September 19, 2015
Such an amazing pianist and accompanist and a very kind man.
September 19, 2015
Dr. Brough played for me many times and was a stable influence during all the Dept. Lit. classes at UofT.

His contributions were enormous but always quietly in the background, letting the students be their best.

RIP
Jaye Marsh
September 19, 2015
He was a great musician and one of the kindest, most thoughtful men. His gentle mien belied his sharp intelligence. He accompanied me on many auditions as a young singer and his intelligent approach made me a more intelligent singer. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
vanessa grant
September 19, 2015
A very kind, quiet man who helped thousands of music students over the years.RIP.
Ihor Sywanyk
September 19, 2015
God bless him. He was a kind and humble gentleman and a fine collaborator. He partnered perhaps three generations of Canadian musicians. Rest well, Dr. Brough.
Catherine Robbin
September 19, 2015
Dr George was the best of the best.
I will cherish all the nice times we had where he accompanied my oboe playing. He could sight-read anything. He was always supportive, encouraging and gave me lots of helpful hints.
A real master and true gentleman to the end.
Tu nous manqueras George.
Marie-Line
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