Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Music Criticism


Paul Rapoport


Many people consider Hamilton a slightly distant suburb of Toronto, as well a city reliant on a struggling steel industry. Those interested in the arts may question what kind of classical music scene could exist in such a locale.

This critical portfolio strives to answer this question, demonstrating that Hamilton possesses a rich classical music scene. The focus on seven local organizations supports this conclusion. These are Opera Ontario, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, chamberWORKS!, Symphony Hamilton, the John Laing Singers, the Bach Elgar Choir, and the Canadian Orpheus Male Choir.

Through detailed background articles on each of these organizations, including examinations of their past, present and future, the issues affecting each are brought to the forefront, as are the attempts to find solutions. Reviews of concerts by each ofthe musical institutions reveal how well each is succeeding in producing high-quality events.

An introductory essay sets the economic and demographic scene of Hamilton, with emphasis on how its characteristics affect the organizations. Parallels are drawn among issues affecting the seven groups, such as declining government grants and aging audiences.

A portfolio focusing specifically on the classical music scene in Hamilton has never been produced by a Master of Arts student in the Music Criticism program. This work will hopefully serve as a reference for those new to the area as well as those deeply involved in the city's classical musical scene.

McMaster University Library

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