Fonds 007 - Gian Lyman Collection

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Gian Lyman Collection

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  • Textual record

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  • 1957?-1967 (Creation)
    Lyman, Gian

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Physical description

.25 m of textual records.

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Biographical history

Gian Lyman was born in Montreal on 3 January, 1931. She obtained a Licentiate in piano pedagogy at the Royal Schools of Music (London) in 1948, and became an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto in piano performance the following year. She then studied composition (B.Mus, 1954) and organ (L.Mus, 1954) at McGill University.
From 1951 to 1959 Gian Lyman worked in the Montreal region as a choir director, church organist, and an organ recitalist. In this last capacity she was frequently heard between 1953 and 1962 on Canadian radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Radio-Canada). From 1959 until her death in April 1974, Gian Lyman was an active participant in the North American early music scene, playing viola da gamba and, on at least one occasion, violone. Sheappeared with many early music ensembles and musical organizations including the Montreal Consort of Ancient Instruments (1959-1969), Cambridge Consort (1964-1974; winner of the 1973 Naumberg Chamber Music Award), Boston Camerata (1966-1974), Cambridge Society of Early Music (concerts in 1966, 1968, 1970-71, 1973), and the Brandeis Chamber Orchestra (1973-74). Also during this time, Gian Lyman gave recitals in Toronto and Montreal for the CBC and Radio Canada, and performed as a chamber musician with Robert Koff, Louis Bagger, John Gibbons, Alan Curtis, Joshua Rifkin, Kenneth Gilbert, Bernard Krainis, Jean Hakes, Joe Iadone, Mario Duchenes, Michel DeBost, and Bert Turetsky, among others.
Gian Lyman’s recording career included works from the Spanish Renaissance, the court and chapel of Henry VIII, and compositions by Antoine Forqueray, Guillaume Dufay, François Couperin, Jean Philippe Rameau, and, as a member of the Ensemble baroque de Montréal, Marin Marais. These recordings were released, variously, on the Vox, Turnabout, Nonesuch, Harmonia Mundi, London (Canada), Janus, and the Musical Heritage Society labels.
From 1954 to 1974, Gian Lyman taught at several educational institutions of note: McGill University (1954-64, instructor in piano, organ and theory), Longy School of Music (1966-73, viola da gamba, and director of the Collegium choir and instrumental ensembles), L’Université Laval (1970-72, viola da gamba), and Brandeis University (1973-74, consultant, Early Music Ensemble). Additionally, she instructed at various workshops and summer schools including the Provincetown Collegium for Early Music, Cornell University Summer School for Viol Players, Saratoga Summer School for Viol Players, Emory University Early Music Workshop, Windham Collegium, and American Recorder Society (ARS) workshops in Miami, Oakland (Michigan), and Goddard College.
Gian Lyman was active as a composer during the years 1957 to 1967. Highlights include the Trio for Violin, Viola, and Piano (Brookline Library Music Association Award, 1967) and Quaternions (for flute, violin, viola da gamba, and harpsichord) commissioned by the Canadian Government for performance at Expo '67.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds includes a letter from Lex [i.e. Alexander Silbiger] to [Professor] Donald [Mackay] of the McGill Faculty of Music [now, Schulich School of Music], and a typed curriculum vitae [undated, but probably from 1974] detailing personal data, degrees and diplomas, performing experience, recordings, teaching experience, and compositional output. Also included is a printed concert program for a performance given by the Department of Music, Brandeis University in Slosberg Recital Hall on Sunday, April 27, 1975. In addition, the fonds comprises copies of scores of Gian Lyman’s compositions, including [Sonata for Organ?], Three Bagatelles for Piano (first performance, Montreal, 1959), Pieces for Oboe and Viola (first performance, Montreal, 1959), String quartet (first performance, Montreal, 1960), Essay for three Viols (first performance, Hartford, 1966), Trio for Violin, Viola, and Piano, Quaternions (flute, violin, viola da gamba, and harpsichord), and miscellaneous pieces for choir and organ.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired from Alexander Silbiger (husband) in 1982.


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  • English

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Consultation by appointment.

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No further accessions expected.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2006; updated and entered into AtoM by Geneviève Beaudry, May 2019.

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