Kelsey Jones: Complete Works

This photo may not be used without permission.



1983/84 academic year

R. Braley Photo may not be used without permission.

This photo may not be used without permission.

June 17, 1922 - October 10, 2004

This short history was written by Kelsey's long-time friend Tom Sailman:

KELSEY JONES was born June 12, 1922 in South Norwalk, Connecticut, but grew up mainly in Portland, Maine. His early memories of music appreciation began in the early 1930s when he was taken to the Sunday afternoon concerts of the Portland Symphony Orchestra (a Works Progress Administration project). It was at this time that he began studying tuba and piano.

His father formed a family orchestra with Betty on violin, Frances, cello, Kelsey, piano and father on flute. Betty was four years older than Kelsey and Frances, six. (Betty died at the age of 84 on July 8, 2002. Her husband, Warren survives, as does her son Ian Frances Gray is a widow.) Kelsey's first public performance was as Betty's accompanist at her high school graduation in 1936.

In 1938 Betty began studies for her Bachelor of Arts at Mount Allison University with music courses at their Conservatory of Music. Kelsey was doing poorly at high school, although he was in demand as a jazz pianist in various clubs. Betty secured him an interview with Professor Harold Hamer at Mount A and it was arranged that he would complete his high school diploma at the Mount A Academy for Boys as well as enrolling in the university for the Bachelor of Music degree.

From 1939-42 he continued his studies while earning money at college as a founding member of the jazz band and as a dining room waiter. He continued playing a clubs around Portland. During the war years he was employed in an optics factory at Harvard University.

In his Mount A years his girlfriend was Rosabelle Smith, of Truro, N.S. --a talented pianist who also was studying at the Conservatory. They married in 1942 and lived in the U.S. until the war was over. He returned to Mount A after the war and apparently his Mount A B.Mus. degree was not granted until 1946, according to his notes, but he was not at Mount A 1942-46.

In 1947 he took his B.Mus at the University of Toronto under Sir Ernest MacMillan. In '47 - '48 the Joneses were in Sackville, N.B. where Kelsey was on the faculty at the Music Conservatory. In 1948 he completed studies for his Doctorate of Music under Professor Leo Smith and Dr. Healey Willan at the University of Toronto. In 1949 he and Rosie went to Paris where he studied under Nadia Boulanger.

In 1950 Jones was founding conductor of Saint John Symphony Orchestra and put together about 45 musicians from the Saint John area, assisted by his wife, an accomplished pianist. It was at this time that they began performing together as a two-piano team which took them to concert stages from one end of Canada to the other. The symphony, first in the Maritime provinces, was a huge success. In 1953 it was time to move on and the Joneses went to Montreal to continue their careers.

Kelsey Jones (harpsichord) was a founder of the Montreal Baroque Trio along with Melvin Berman (oboe), and Mario Duschenes (flute and recorder), a classical group that performed all across Canada and on the CBC. His career widened when he joined the faculty of the Conservatory of Music of McGill University, eventually becoming a professor. When he retired in 1984 he was selected to be Professor Emeritus.

By about 1960 he and Rosie found a summer refuge in southern Quebec and began to establish a new home, moving to Cook's Lines in Hinchinbrook, south of Huntingdon. Their three acres contained a deserted farmhouse which they refurbished, and straddled the U.S.-Canada border. In following years they were welcomed by the local farming community and friends of the Joneses followed them to this "Shangri La", establishing a sort of community. Included were the families of a Carleton University professor, a Montreal advertising executive, a Toronto educator and educational TV Producer Ranald Ide '40, and a retired Canadian Army officer Tom Sailman '40. To the wonder of the surrounding agriculturists, the group spent summer after summer helping out in the hay fields in return for generous assistance in establishing their new homes

It was at about that time that Kelsey’s career moved from performing and teaching into composing and his works were often heard on the CBC when performed by symphony orchestras across Canada. His compositions included many for the piano, chamber music, symphonies, concertos, an opera, an oratorio, and a symphonic jazz presentation.

The Joneses moved to Cook's Lines permanently in 1971 as he continued teaching at McGill, the couple spending part of each year touring Europe.

In 1974 Rosie suffered a car accident that made her a paraplegic, but although confined to a wheelchair, she and Kelsey designed and purchased a recreational vehicle that took them all around the continent for many years, finally setting up a winter home in Florida after Kelsey retired in 1984 to devote his time to taking care of his wife. In 1992 Rosie fell from her chair, further injuring herself and having to remain in the Huntingdon Chronic Care Hospital until her death in December 1995.

Kelsey mourned Rosie for years, but continued to spend winters in Florida until 2002 when he moved into a retirement home in Montreal. After a year-long struggle with his health, Kelsey died in hospital at 3:45pm on October 10th. He is survived by his sister Frances, nephew Ian Gray and close friends.

Kelsey Jones (June 17, 1922 - October 10, 2004) was a pioneering performer, respected composer and gifted pedagogue. Professor Emeritus at McGill University, Kelsey was retired and living on the Canada-US border (this is literally the case as his property is divided by the border) since 1984. He was a good friend for about 30 years, and as a result I have many of his papers, some of his manuscripts, and all of the scores for his works as well as most of his broadcast performances, all of his performances that are on record, and all of his works that have been released on vinyl.

I have information on where various materials, including scores and parts, can be found if you are looking to perform any of his works.

The following is a nearly-complete list of the works of Kelsey Jones, many of which have been recorded and published. All works are available through the Canadian Music Centre and/or McGill University, Faculty of Music.

If you would like additional information, please contact me at / Rick Braley



Jack and the Beanstalk 12:00 1954 Narrator, SATB & orchestra (also an arrangement for piano 4-hands and rhythm band)  (home recording - K. & R. Jones - 1954)
Miramichi Ballad 13:30 1954 Full orchestra R.C.I. ACM 24 *
Fantasy on a Theme   1976 Full orchestra  no recording

Nursery Suite (contains: "Old King Cole", "Solomon Grundy" & "The Brave Old Duke of York".) 6:00 1954 Child's voice, chorus, piano 4 hands, rhythm band  (home recording - K. & R. Jones - 1954)
Nonsense Songs (Five Limericks & The Table and the Chair (E. Lear)) 3:05 1955 SATB R.C.I AMC 24
Songs of Time (R. Herrick, T. Jordan, F. Quarles, J. Webster) 13:35 1955 SATB, pf 4- hands R.C.I AMC 24
To Musicke (R. Herrick) 16:15 1957 Song Cycle for Contralto & Piano R.C.I AMC 24
Songs of Experience (W. Blake) 6:50 1958 SATB R.C.I AMC 24
Songs of Innocence (W. Blake) 15:50 1961 Soprano & chamber orchestra (CBC Broadcast - G. Craig, K. Jones & McGill Chamber Orchestra; 1961)
Psalm Forty-Nine   1962 Baritone & piano C.B.C. I.S.
Prophecy of Micah (Adap. R. Jones) 23:05 1963 SATB R.C.I AMC 24
Kishamaquac Suite (N. B. folk songs adap. R. Jones) 11:00 1971 SATB  (CBC Broadcast, 1971)
Hymn to Bacchus (R. Herrick, adap. R. Jones) 20:23 1972 SATB & pf 4-hands  (CBC Broadcast - Tudor Singers with D. Morton & E. Masters; 1972)
Songs of Winter (early Cdn. poets, adap. R. Jones)   1973 Soprano, Contralto & Piano  no recording
Da Musica, Con Amore (R. Jones) 8:42 1977 Mixed choir & brass quintet  (International Music Day Concert; October 1, 1977)

Suite for Flute and Strings 19:35 1954 Solo Flute & String Orchestra R.C.I AMC 24
Four Pieces for Recorders 7:00 1955 Recorders Baroque Records
Mosaic   1956 Flute, viola & harp  no recording
Sonata da Camera 10:35 1957 Flute, oboe & harpsichord R.C.I AMC 24
Prelude, Fughetta and Finale 12:17 1963 Violin, cello & Harpsichord  no recording
Quintet for Winds 13:05 1967 Wind Quintet R.C.I AMC 24
Sonata da Chiesa 11:20 1967 Flute, oboe & harpsichord C.B.C. R.C.A.
Adagio, Presto and Fugue 23:00 1973 String orchestra  (McGill Chamber Orchestra Premiere; March 16, 1972)
Passacaglia and Fugue for Brass Quintet 8:50 1975 Brass Quintet McGill Records & R.C.I AMC 24
Musica d'Occasione   1978 Brass Quintet  no recording
Three Preludes and a Fugue 16:50 1982 Saxophone Quintet S. R.C.I AMC 24

Sam Slick (R. Jones)   1967 Chamber opera for 8 soloists & orchestra  (CBC Broadcast - 1967)

Introduction and Fugue 9:25 1959 Violin & piano R.C.I AMC 24
Scherzo 3:43 1961 Violin & piano  (H. Bress & C. Reiner - CBC Broadcast, 1961)
Theme and Variations 17:30 1961 Piano 4 hands  (CBC Broadcast; R. & K. Jones)
Passacaglia 10:00 1961 Piano R.C.I AMC 24
Rondo for Solo Flute 25:15 1964 Flute R.C.I AMC 24
Five Pieces for Piano   1964 Piano  (Poems on Ottawa - CBC broadcast 1966)
Jazzum Opus Unum 15:05 1977 Jazz band McGill Records
Six Love Pieces (unpublished manuscript in my possession) ~15:00  1999 2 Pianos  (compilation recording of early unpublished works performed by K. & R. Jones)

* R.C.I. AMC = Radio Canada International, Anthology of Canadian Music (released in 1986)

The above table is not based on that of the Canadian Music Centre, but if you would like to see the materials that they hold in their library on Kelsey Jones click here.