918 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON, M5R 3G5
Phone: (416) 204-1080

Artistic and programming inquiries

Sanjeet Takhar, Artistic Director

sanjeet@musicgallery.org
Rentals and other administrative inquiries

David Dacks, Executive Director

david@musicgallery.org

Our History

In the beginning, there was music. Over its 45-year history, the Music Gallery has been many things to many people. When it was founded in 1976, it quickly became a hub for collaboration, creative exploration and musical performance.

Toronto’s Centre For Creative Music – Since 1976

Our founders CCMC were sonic adventurers drawing from many traditions and even inventing some of their own. Their approach to musical innovation and the resulting legacy of their creations lives on in the Music Gallery and its activities today.

From those early days as an artist-run centre, the Music Gallery has led a truly remarkable journey. We have hosted extraordinary international residencies. We have held festivals. We helped launch a magazine and two record labels. At least twice, financial troubles nearly destroyed us. Through the ups and downs, through successes and failures—throughout nearly five wild decades—the Music Gallery never lost its commitment to the music and the artists who make it.

Music Gallery Timeline

Compiled by Christopher McKinnon
Tampering by Matthew Fava & David Dacks

1976

  • The Music Gallery is established by the Canadian Creative Music Collective (CCMC) in a converted warehouse space at 30 Patrick St. Inspired by the artist-run centre movement, the Music Gallery is a space for the creation, development and performance of new music and is directed by Al Mattes and Peter Anson.
  • In cooperation with art publication Only Paper Today, the Music Gallery introduces Musicworks Magazine as a supplement.
Lubomyr Melnyk

1977

  • Music Gallery Editions is launched. From 1977 to 1981, the record label releases 27 LPs of recordings.
Musicworks 26

1978

  • Musicworks begins publishing independently out of the Music Gallery’s offices.
  • Technical Director Paul Hodge joins the staff.
  • The Music Gallery produces the first Ear it Live festival of improvised music. The festival continues through 1981.
Imagine the sound book cover

1979

  • The Music Gallery is the site of the first annual Electronic Music Festival sponsored by A Space Gallery, the Music Gallery and the Canadian Electroacoustic Community. The festival would run until 1988.
  • Sandor Ajzenstat joins the staff.
  • Presentation of Bill Smith’s photo exhibition “Imagine The Sound” which led to the production of Ron Mann’s award-winning documentary of the same name.
  • Pauline Oliveros’ first visit to the Music Gallery.
  • Residency by Derek Bailey.
RMG CIUT

1983

  • The now defunct CKLN 88.1 FM begins a weekly showcase called Radio Music Gallery, featuring live recordings from the Gallery. The showcase later moves to CIUT 89.5FM.
Great Hall gala

1984

  • The Music Gallery moves to 1087 Queen St. West, in the basement of what was once West Toronto’s first YMCA, and is now the Longboat Hall.

1985

  • Music Gallery travels to the Holland Festival and brings CCMC, The Four Horsemen, The Glass Orchestra, John Oswald, Gordon Monahan, and Victor Coleman.

1987

  • The original CCMC band members step down from The Music Gallery’s Board of Directors.
  • Jim Montgomery becomes Artistic Director.
Masterpieces of the MG

1992

  • Compilation CD Masterpieces of the Music Gallery is issued.
CCMC 179 Richmond

1993

  • The Music Gallery moves to a multi-purpose space at 179 Richmond St.
VTO MG

1995

  • First collaboration with Victoriaville, QC’s FIMAV festival, entitled Victo T.O. (later VTO)
Allison Cameron Paul Clipson still Images 2008

1997

  • First collaboration with the Images Film Festival, using the Music Gallery as a cinema space.
St. George The Martyr Sanctuary

2000

  • The Music Gallery’s archives (from 1976 to 2000) are donated to York University.
  • The Richmond Street space is slated for redevelopment and the Music Gallery is evicted; the 2000-2001 season takes place at venues across the city.
SGM courtyard

2001

  • The Music Gallery makes its home at St. George the Martyr Church.
  • The Music Gallery Institute begins – free lunchtime performances by emerging artists who are exploring new work.

2005

  • Creation of the Artistic Advisory Council.
X Avant 2006

2006

  • John Gzowski and Jonathan Bunce become co-Artistic Directors.
  • Launch of the X Avant festival and four programming streams: Jazz, Pop, New World, and Post-Classical.
Sun Ra

2008

  • Sun Ra Arkestra and Coleman Lemieux dancers at Palais Royale.

2012

  • Artistic Direction by David Dacks.
  • Radio Music Gallery returns as a podcast through StudioFeed.
Bear Witness ATCR

2013

  • In collaboration with ImagiNative Festival, A Tribe Called Red headlines X Avant in the former location of the MG at 1087 Queen St. West.
Battle Trance Departures

2014

  • Launch of Departures series, curated by Tad Michalak.
  • Genre-based programming streams are eliminated.
David Virelles

2015

  • David Virelles Gnosis world premiere, project recorded and internationally released by ECM Records.
  • MG helps to launch Norma Beecroft’s ebook Conversations with Post World War II Pioneers of Electronic Music.
E Saggila at 918

2017

  • We move our performance space to Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood and begin our partnership with 918 Bathurst Centre.
Land of Kush poster

2018

  • Sand Enigma, by Land of Kush, is premiered at the Aga Khan Museum, and is recorded and released internationally by Constellation Records
  • Live at the Music Gallery Bandcamp platform is launched.

2021

  • Sanjeet Takhar becomes artistic director
  • What Is? Festival launched