University of Saskatchewan - Music Collections

The Murray Adaskin Collection

Fifty years after Murray Adaskin joined the faculty of the University of Saskatchewan, the University Library has a complete set of his compositions. Several years ago, enjoying his semi-retirement in Victoria, he began donating his compositions to the U of S, a gift recently completed by his widow Dorothea. This donation consists of his complete body of work, all in professionally published and bound editions, in many cases with duplicate copies. Known as The Murray Adaskin Collection, this generous donation will be permanently housed in the Library's University Authors' Collection. All of the duplicates (including several full sets of performance parts) will be housed in the Education Library's Music collection, available for research or performance. Adaskin composed for many different combinations of instruments and voices, often featuring his own chosen instrument, the violin. Most of the approximately 130 titles are new to the U of S, and will greatly expand the Adaskin legacy on campus. The University of Saskatchewan is most grateful for the generosity of the Adaskins, and looks forward to offering this unique resource to the musical community.

Murray Adaskin composes at his piano.


Born in Toronto, March 28, 1906, Murray Adaskin began his violin training at the age of ten. Additional training was received in New York and Paris including periods of composition study with John Weinzweig, Charles Jones and Darius Milhaud. A violinist with Toronto Symphony for ten years, Adaskin also served as director of music for the CPR hotels. As Head of the Music Department at the University of Saskatchewan from 1952 until 1966, and then Composer-In-Residence from 1966 until 1973, Murray, along with his first wife soprano Frances James Adaskin, initiated and supported much of the rich musical life which remains as a cultural focus in Saskatoon today. Among his many honours were Saskatoon's citizen of the year for 1970, a 1980 appointment to the Order of Canada and an honorary doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984. Murray Adaskin retired to Victoria in 1973 where he composed his final work in 2000. The noted Canadian composer died in 2002 at the age of 96 after a productive lifetime of contributing to the musical life of Canada.

Portrait of Professor Adaskin.


"Saskatchewan Legend"
Title page.

"Andante (1964)"
First page of score.

"Rankin Inlet (1978)"
Title page.

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