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George Little (Chorale Conductor)

Born: September 4, 1920 - Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
Died: October 19, 1995 - Montréal, Québec, Canada

The Canadian choral conductor, organist, educator and administrator, (Lloyd) George [or Georges] Little, obtained provincial teaching certificates from Nova Scotia in 1939 and Quebec in 1945 and 1963 and diplomas in organ and harpsichord from the Conservatoire de musique du Québec (CMM) in 1944, the École normale de musique de Paris in 1949 and 1951, and the Conservatoire national de Paris in 1951.

George Little taught piano and pedagogy in 1942-1944 in Halifax and school music in 1944-1945 at William Dawson College, Montreal. He lectured in 1948 and from 1950 to 1955 at McGill University Summer French School and taught organ and solfège from 1951 to 1957 at the CMM and choral singing and conducting from 1953 to 1969 at the CAMMAC Centre and from 1955 to 1963 at McGill University. He was music director from 1962 to 1964 for French protestant secondary schools, and served 1965-1969 as chief of the music section of the Quebec Ministry of Education and 1969-1980 as head of its arts division.

George Little was organist-choirmaster 1939-1964 at churches in Nova Scotia and Quebec, including Montreal's Erskine and American United Church, where he served from 1951 to 1964. He made his debut as a concert organist on a 1950 CBC 'Wednesday Night' broadcast from Montreal's Notre Dame Church and as a choral conductor that same year in Bach's Christmas Oratorio at the Ermitage.

George Little attained a national reputation as the founder, and conductor from 1951 to 1965, of the Chorale de Bach de Montréal with which he presented the premieres of many Canadian works and performances of major pieces from the renaissance, baroque, classic, and 20th-century repertoires. He also founded and conducted from 1957 to 1971, the Petit Ensemble vocal and, with his brother Carl in 1953, co-founded the Otter Lake Music Centre (CAMMAC), which he co-directed until 1965. In 1966 he was a founder of FAMEQ. He was active in many organizations, including the Canadian Music Council (vice-president 1975-1976), and spoke frequently at Canadian and international conferences. A Canada Council grant enabled him in 1972-1973 to research choral singing in Asian and African countries.

In 1983 George Little was awarded the Canadian Music Council Medal, and also the Kodály Medal from the Hungarian government for the promotion of that composer's work. In 1991 he was awarded honorary Doctor of Music from Montreal University. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1993.


'Organ and choral aspects and prospects,' 10th Music Book, ed Max Hinrichsen (London and New York 1958)
'Music education in Quebec,' MSc, 241, 242 (May-Jun, Jul-Aug 1968)
'La formation de l'artiste pour 2001,' CMB, 2 (Spring-Summer 1971)
'Une éducation musicale pour l'homme,' CMB, 10 (Spring-Summer 1975)


Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia 2015 Historica Foundation of Canada
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (May 2015)

George Little: Short Biography | Chorale de Bach de Montréal | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

George Little (The Canadian Encyclopedia)


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