After a brief stay in hospital, Professor Peter Smith died two days short of his 94th birthday.  He is survived by his beloved Masaharu ‘Masa’ Mukai, siblings Mrs. Patricia (William B.) Harris of Toronto, the Rev. Canon David A.P. (Margo) Smith of Perth, Ontario, and Mrs. Harriet (Bruce) Pattison of Fort Myers, Florida, seven nieces and nephews, and many friends around the world.

Born in Belleville, Ontario as the eldest child to the Rev. Canon F. Arthur Smith and Mrs. Marjorie (Pritchard) Smith, Peter showed an early aptitude for music that would define his life.  Composing sheet music and singing in church choirs from an early age, he began piano lessons in earnest at six years old, culminating in his acceptance to the Julliard School in New York in 1946.  He went on to study piano and music history at Cambridge University, eventually teaching those subjects at the University of Manchester (UK) and later the University of Western Ontario.  His specialization was always in keyboard playing, both piano and harpsichord, with a particular love for chamber music.  He adjudicated many music festivals across Canada before his retirement in 1994.  In that year, he moved to Victoria, BC, where he helped to organize the annual Victoria Performing Arts Festival, sang in the St Barnabas choir, and participated in the vibrant musical life of this city.

A Memorial Service will be held in the Sequoia Centre, at McCall Gardens, 4665 Falaise Drive, Victoria, BC, on Friday, July 29, 2022, at 10:00 am.

As an expression of sympathy, a donation in Peter’s memory to the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus would be greatly appreciated.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • Agnes Stieda

    I will forever be grateful to Peter because he helped me to join the musical community in Victoria after my husband and I retired from Vancouver. I knew only one musician friend, Kate Rhodes. We had collaborated already in Vancouver. A painter friend introduced me to the Kreisslers, and they invited me to their big 4th of July party, where many musicians came together to make music. Peter and I decided to sing the wonderful aria from Haydn‘s creation “On mighty pens”. Peter was a dream accompanist, as you can imagine, and the aria was very well received. I was accepted right away into the musical community, not only as a singer but also as an amateur violinist. Before coming to Victoria, I had thought I would never find people with whom I could make music, and 25 years after, I still am. Thank you Peter.

  • Lesley Atherton

    My condolences to Masa and members of Peter’s family. I will always treasure the memories of our many Friday afternoon trio readings with Allyn. It was an absolute privilege to have known Peter in this way through our shared love of music.

  • Carol Brown

    I had the privilege of meeting Peter in 2000 and working closely with him from then until 2012 . For those 12 years, he generously shared his incredible musical expertise and management skills with the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival (formerly the Victoria Music Festival), presiding as Piano Section Head when Piano was the largest section in the Festival, lasting for both days and evenings over two full weeks. He recruited extraordinary adjudicators, was meticulous in maintaining (and inspiring) the highest of standards, and was universally respected and admired by the board, staff, volunteers and young participants. I fondly remember Peter patiently assisting lineups of young piano registrants with the titles of their pieces, and if they were unsure of a key or opus number, Peter would calmly hum a few intro bars of all the most likely ones until they brightened up and said, “yes, that’s the one!”

    I will always remember Peter’s “joie de vivre” and his completely unique, gentlemanly, extravagantly chivalrous style.
    And treasure memories of him arriving at the threshold of the Festival Office, always doffing his cap and bowing slightly, and never venturing to enter until invited to do so. But what fun then! Musical adieu, dear Prince.

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