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Original title:  Annie Glen Broder. Image courtesy of Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta.

Source: Link

GLEN, ANNIE (baptized Eliza Ann) (Broder), musician, lecturer, author, and teacher; b. probably 18 Aug. 1857 at Agra, India, youngest of at least three children of William Glen and Eliza Harriet Davis; m. c. 1900 Richard W. C. Broder (d. 11 Sept. 1924), a widower with three sons, probably in Regina; d. 19 Aug. 1937 in Calgary.

For more than 30 years, Annie Glen Broder was Calgary’s foremost accompanist, teacher, and music critic. An attractive woman who favoured Victorian-era clothes, she was a true child of the British empire, born in the fortress of Agra, near the Taj Mahal. Her father was the Reverend William Glen, a missionary said to have been a cavalry officer at the time of her birth and who, towards the end of his career, may have been attached to the Oriental School established by the government of India in 1870. Her paternal grandfather, another William, had been a Scottish missionary who had translated the Bible into Persian. Raised in a village near London, England, she won a scholarship to the National Training School of Music and studied there while Arthur Sullivan served as principal (1876–80). She was a brilliant student, educated both as a singer and as a pianist. Sullivan invited her to early productions of the shows he created with William Gilbert; in May 1877 she was present at the Royal Albert Hall for performances of Richard Wagner’s music, with the composer himself conducting.

In the 1880s and 1890s Glen enjoyed a busy career. She gave many recitals, performing songs by Alexander Campbell Mackenzie, principal of the Royal Academy of Music from 1888, and Gabriel Fauré, among others. She was acquainted with such individuals as the pianist and composer Otto Goldschmidt and his wife, the celebrated singer Jenny Lind, and one of her teachers was John Stainer, chiefly famous for his contributions as a composer, organist, and musicologist in the domain of church music. A popular lecturer, she used musical illustrations while giving talks on piano accompaniment in cities that included Oxford, Winchester, and Peterborough in England, and in Dublin. Following the engagement at the University of Oxford, the philologist and renowned Orientalist Friedrich Max Müller, who was also a skilled pianist, invited her to join him for lunch. Her connections with the British musical establishment would be the key to her success, after her move to Calgary, in convincing the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music to conduct examinations there. Her certainty that the city’s students would acquit themselves well was justified: between 1909 and 1939 Calgary students won 16 of the 50 board scholarships awarded to Canadians.

Glen had a talent for writing as well as public speaking. In 1889 Oscar Wilde, then editor of the Woman’s World magazine, accepted two articles, one on combs in history and literature, the second on music as a profession for women; in the following year two more submissions examined national character and etiquette in European countries, and dramatic singing as a career for women. During the early 1890s she wrote stories headed by brief musical scores for Little Folks magazine. Perceiving the lack of an authoritative textbook on piano accompaniment, she became determined to create one despite discouragement from those, including Sullivan and Stainer, who claimed that such a manual was impossible to produce. In 1893 she published How to accompany, which was brought out in an expanded edition in 1894 that was reprinted in 1905. Intended as a handbook that “progressively considers musical works of great difficulty,” it uses short excerpts from various pieces as examples. The first four chapters focus primarily on old ballads and lyrics, and articulate topics such as remembering the structure of scales and using the pedals effectively. Subsequent chapters describe the challenges in songs by contemporary composers such as Gounod, Grieg, and Berlioz, and how to render the complex orchestral parts of operas and oratorios on piano. The author refers to accompanying as a “science” rather than an art, and she addresses practical skills that are still very much part of being an effective accompanist.

Her marriage to Richard Broder, an Irish widower, brought her to Regina in the North-West Territories. They had apparently met many years before, possibly in Belfast. In 1883 he and his wife, Emily, had immigrated to Canada, and in 1890 they got a land grant in what is now southern Saskatchewan. He is described as “an educated gentleman” who had been a teacher in England.

Glen arrived in Canada during the autumn of 1900. It seems that Richard had written to ask her to join him, and for unknown reasons, she accepted. She would later say that although she had not been “primarily intending to continue [her] musical career, the crying need of musical educational development made pioneer work imperative.” (It is possible that financial considerations also had an influence.) She gave lessons and worked with John Stoughton Dennis, deputy commissioner of the federal Department of Public Works, on a production of HMS Pinafore. In 1903 the Broders moved further west when Dennis, now employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway, invited her to Calgary “to take hold of the musical situation,” as she later said. Her husband took up ranching, while she instantly became the central figure of the city’s small musical universe as the organist at the Pro-Cathedral Church of the Redeemer (Anglican), and as a highly regarded teacher, recitalist, composer, and music critic for the Calgary News Telegram, and later the Calgary Daily Herald; she also wrote for the Provincial Standard (Calgary) and the Morning Albertan (Calgary). Among her pupils was Muriel Aileen Preston, who later married future premier Ernest Charles Manning*. She recalled Mrs Broder as a wonderful teacher, strict, but willing to let students give personal interpretations of a composition: “She would allow you to have your own voice.” In 1904 Glen Broder worked again with Dennis, this time on the Canadian premiere of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s The atonement; other productions followed. She would become involved in projects such as Calgary’s National Music Week and the Alberta Music Festival.

A prolific author, she consistently included her maiden name before her married name. (When her husband died in 1924, the obituary in the Herald noted that he had been the “husband of Annie Glen Broder.”) The titles of her compositions and poems indicate her commitment to her adopted land. Shortly after her arrival in Calgary she had written one of her most popular pieces, a march for the Royal North-West Mounted Police, which would be part of the repertoire of the force’s bands for many years. Other titles were “Song of the chinook,” “Northern harvest,” and “Calgary, city of the foothills.” She reviewed performances by local singers and musicians such as Odette de Foras, one of her pupils, as well as concerts and recitals given by international celebrities and groups, including Calgary-born violinist Mary Kathleen Parlow*, Percy Grainger, Jascha Heifetz, Sergey Rachmaninoff, Amelita Galli-Curci, Fritz Kreisler, the London String Quartet, and the Westminster Glee Singers. She gave talks on music and culture, and was prominent in the city’s social events: for example, she acted as hostess for the rancher and businessman Patrick Burns when he gave a reception on 19 May 1927 for the singer Isabelle Burnada, and was visited by Governor General Lord Willingdon [Freeman-Thomas*] in 1928. Glen Broder made several extended trips to England, where she combined the business of writing with the pleasure of occasions enjoyed by the elite. At the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 she was a special correspondent for the Globe and the Manitoba Free Press (Winnipeg), and in 1911 she wrote about George V’s coronation for the latter paper. For the Herald she reported on the opening of Canada House in London in 1925, and on the celebration of the 60th anniversary of confederation at a service in Westminster Abbey two years later. In her seventies she represented Canada at the Anglo-American Music Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Annie Glen Broder passed away after contracting pneumonia. The Herald described her as “a figure of Victorian elegance, retaining a Dresden-like distinction until the end. When she swept down the aisle at concerts to her critic’s chair, her befeathered hat swathed in pale pink tulle was known to half the audience.” Frank Michel Wright Harvey, president of the Calgary Symphony’s board, paid her this tribute: “her influence was far-reaching and her musical knowledge apparently inexhaustible.”

As a musician, critic, author, and gifted teacher, Annie Glen Broder had a rich and rewarding creative life in England and Canada at a time when few opportunities for career advancement existed for women. In southern Alberta this accomplished, very self-assured Englishwoman made a major contribution as one of Calgary’s first cultural commentators, organizers, and instructors. Much of what is known about the city’s early musical development comes from her concert reviews in local newspapers. In the early 20th century the influential and imposing Annie Glen Broder reigned supreme as the grande dame of music in Calgary.

Ron Bond and Donald B. Smith

The authors warmly thank Kat Hammer and Muriel Preston Manning for their assistance with research for this article. Phyllis Chapman Ford gave a physical description of Annie Glen Broder in a conversation with Donald B. Smith on 11 Jan. 2003. The authors’ notes on Annie Glen Broder have been donated to the GA in Calgary.

Annie Glen’s most important publication before she left England for Canada in 1900 was How to accompany: a guide to the artistic accompaniment of any musical composition … (London, [1893]; new and enlarged ed., [1894]; repr. [1905]). Her articles included, for the Woman’s World (London) in 1889, “Music as a profession for women,” 82–85, and “Combs,” 430–34, and, in 1890, “National character and etiquette,” 32–34, and “Dramatic singing as a career for women,” 491–93. In 1892 Little Folks (London) published a 6-pt. ser., “Little toilers and their tunes,” 22–24, 94–96, 166–67, 230–31, 233, 326–28, 381–82; in 1894 the same magazine ran another 6-pt. ser., “Famous homes of music,” 46–48, 75–77, 162–64, 245–47, 334–36, 373–75. Photocopies of these works and of many of her articles, reviews, and poems written after her move to Canada are in the GA. The Annie Glen Broder fonds (M 6258) contains her “Memoirs of a musical pioneer” (ser.1, file 1) and “Annie Glen Broder – pioneer musician of Calgary” by D. J. Currie (ser.1, file 2) as well as many personal papers. A finding aid is available on the GA website.

The date of Glen Broder’s birth in 1857 is given on her gravestone in Union Cemetery, Calgary. In the 1906 census of Canada her birthdate is said to be 6 May 1863; in the English censuses of 1861 and 1871 she is recorded as, respectively, 3 and 13 years of age. These and other sources give 1858 as the estimated year of her birth.

Ancestry.com, “Canadian passenger lists, 1865–1935”: www.ancestry.com (consulted 12 Dec. 2011); “London, Eng., births and baptisms, 1813–1906,” Enfield, Weld Chapel, 1864: www.ancestry.com (consulted 12 Dec. 2011). Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “International geneal. index,” India marriages, 1792–1948: www.familysearch.org (consulted 8 Sept. 2015). LAC, “Land grants of western Canada, 1870–1930”: www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/land/land-grants-western-canada-1870-1930/Pages/land-grants-western-canada.aspx (consulted 8 Sept. 2015); R233-37-6, Assiniboia (West), Regina (East), D(2), p.2; R233-46-7, Calgary Dist., 26 A, p.23 (available at www.automatedgenealogy.com). National Arch. (G.B.), “Census records,” 1861, RG 9, piece 152, f.59, p.43; 1871, RG 10, piece 1340, f.94, p.9; 1881, RG 11, piece 28, f.25, p.35: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/census-records.htm (consulted 12 Dec. 2011). Calgary Herald, 7 March 1922, 11 Sept. 1924, 1 May 1926, 3 March 1927, 14 Jan. 1929, 26 Nov. 1932, 19 Aug. 1937. Globe, 6 Oct. 1928. Times (London), 25 Sept. 1937. Canadian men and women of the time (Morgan; 1912). Canadian Women’s Press Club, The Alberta Club woman’s blue book, ed. Daisy MacGregor ([Calgary], 1917), 119. Directory, Calgary, 1911. Encyclopedia of music in Canada (Kallmann et al.), 531. Jennifer Hamblin, “‘A distinction worthy of attainment’: the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in Calgary,” Alberta Hist. (Calgary), 57 (2009), no.3: 15–24. N. J. Kennedy, “The growth and development of music in Calgary (1875–1920)” (ma thesis, Univ. of Alta, Edmonton, 1952).

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Ron Bond and Donald B. Smith, “GLEN, ANNIE (baptized Eliza Ann) (Broder),” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 16, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed December 2, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/glen_annie_16E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/glen_annie_16E.html
Author of Article:   Ron Bond and Donald B. Smith
Title of Article:   GLEN, ANNIE (baptized Eliza Ann) (Broder)
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 16
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   2016
Year of revision:   2016
Access Date:   December 2, 2023