Who was Healey Willan?

Dr. Healey Willan, C.C. (b. Balham, England, Oct. 12,1880; d. Toronto, Feb.16,1968) was a composer, organist and teacher.

He moved to Toronto in 1913, taking the position of Head of the Theory Department of the Toronto Conservatory of Music. In 1914, he was appointed Lecturer and Examiner for the University of Toronto. From 1921 until his death, he was Precentor of the church of St. Mary Magdalene. In 1934, he founded the Tudor Singers, which he conducted until 1939. Between 1937 and 1950, he was Professor of Music at the University of Toronto.

In 1953, he was commissioned to write an anthem for the coronation of Elizabeth II and in 1956, he received the Lambent Doctorate, Mus. D Cantaur from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

He composed more than 850 works. More than half were sacred works for choir including many anthems, hymns and masses. His compositions also include secular choral works, songs for voice and piano, two symphonies, a piano concerto, chamber works, and the opera Deirdre.

Many consider Healey Willan to be the "Dean of Canadian Composers". He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967.