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Saturday March 10, 2012

Alan Gregory Detweiler
(15 June 1926 - 25 February 2012)

Alan Detweiler was a Canadian composer, author, and patron of the arts. He was born in Toronto and adopted by Dr Herbert and Mrs Eileen Detweiler. Herbert Detweiler (1886-1973) was a distinguished physician, founder-member and President of the Medical Arts Building of Toronto, Commodore of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and a patron of the arts. Alan attended Upper Canada College then went on to obtain degrees in philosophy at the University of Toronto and Trinity College, Dublin. He was awarded a Ph.D. in the Aesthetics of Music from the University of London, where his composition teachers included Lennox Berkeley and Howard Ferguson. His major works include: David and Goliath (1969), a masque for soloists, SATB chorus, and small ensemble; a number of musical entertainments for children, which were broadcast in many countries and in translation; Theseus and the Minotaur (2011) which had its world premier at the Cadogan Hall in London in September 2011 in a performance by the CLIC Sargent Symphony Orchestra (Cancer and Leukaemia Care in Childhood charity). The Detweilers also adopted a daughter Joyce who died in 1965. She was prominent in the field of rehabilitation for Canadian women prisoners and was a President of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Kingston. The Joyce Detweiler Memorial Fund was established in her memory by her father. The Detweiler family also founded the Detweiler Travelling Fellowships under the aegis of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to improve the quality of medical and surgical practice in Canada. Alan continued the family tradition by encouraging and sponsoring young artists and through the Alan Detweiler Competition, which awarded prizes for the visual arts at Upper Canada College in Toronto and Bedford School in England. He divided his time between Toronto and London with side forays to Bear River in Nova Scotia where he inspired a circle of friends to settle and create a now thriving artistic community. When in London he typically devoted his mornings to friends and in the afternoon retreated to 'the factory' - an apartment in Soho - where he worked on his music. Above all Alan was a wonderful and generous friend to so many, inviting new acquaintances to tea where they would meet kindred spirits and forge lasting friendships. Many took up invitations to stay at his homes in London, Toronto and Bear River. His enthusiasm and sense of fun were infectious, their loss leaves a gaping hole in many lives. Alan's great friend was the Hungarian writer and philosopher Alfred Reynolds. It was a source of enormous pride that the Petofi Irodalmi Muzeum in Budapest asked to have Alfred's archive of papers, letters and photographs, which will be handed over later this year. Following a fall in January Alan's health deteriorated until he died peacefully on 25th February at University College Hospital in London surrounded by friends. The funeral will be at 11am at Golders Green Crematorium in London on 17th March. His wish was that his ashes be interred in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto adjacent to his parents.

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