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Gordon Slater studied the piano from the age of four and started playing the carillon when he was seven by assisting his father, James, the former Carillonneur at the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. Mr. Slater majored on bassoon at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music and later studied the carillon with Milford Myhre.
He held the position of Carillonneur at three Canadian carillons: the Rainbow Tower Carillon in Niagara Falls, Ontario; the Carlsberg Carillon of the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto; and the Soldiers’ Tower Carillon of the University of Toronto before being appointed Dominion Carillonneur of Canada in 1977. In the latter position Gordon Slater played the Peace Tower Carillon at the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa for 31 years. Now retired he continues to perform there occasionally, tour, teach and give carillon master classes.
Since 1978, Mr. Slater has been a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and was co-editor, with his wife Elsa, of that organization’s annual Bulletin from 1979 to 1985. He has served on the Board of Directors, the Examination Committee and the Music Selection Committee. Mr. Slater has performed widely in Canada, the United States, England, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and has made several carillon recordings. He holds the Berkeley Medal from the University of California at Berkeley for distinguished service to the carillon.
Gordon Slater has been Music Director of Divertimento Orchestra, a seventy-piece amateur symphony, since 1987 and he plays bassoon and contrabassoon with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra.