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Tribute to a Norwich teacher who inspired so many with music

PUBLISHED: 14:45 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:45 27 September 2017

Members of the Academy of St Thomas are to perform a concert in memory of the academy's founder Ivan Cane (pictured) who has died aged 90.
Photo: supplied by the Academy of St Thomas

Members of the Academy of St Thomas are to perform a concert in memory of the academy's founder Ivan Cane (pictured) who has died aged 90. Photo: supplied by the Academy of St Thomas

supplied by the Academy of St Thomas

A Norwich teacher who inspired countless people with music and founded the Academy of St Thomas ensemble has died aged 90.

Members of the Academy of St Thomas are to perform a concert in memory of the academy's founder Ivan Cane who has died aged 90. Pictured is the first AST concert in rehearsal in 1973.
Photo: supplied by the Academy of St Thomas Members of the Academy of St Thomas are to perform a concert in memory of the academy's founder Ivan Cane who has died aged 90. Pictured is the first AST concert in rehearsal in 1973. Photo: supplied by the Academy of St Thomas

Ivan Cane, who started the Norwich-based Academy of St Thomas (AST) in 1973 and was a highly respected teacher and musician, died at his home in Old Costessey earlier this month. A service celebrating his life will take place at St Thomas Church this Friday and the Academy of St Thomas will also pay tribute to Mr Cane with a performance of Elgar’s Sospiri at a concert at St Andrew’s Hall next month.

Mr Cane is survived by his wife Beryl and children Jonathan, Jennifer and Andrew. Jonathan said the family had been touched by the many letters they had received from Mr Cane’s past pupils and that the academy’s performance was a fitting tribute because Elgar was Mr Cane’s favourite composer.

He said his father had actually originally planned to become an engineer but discovered his extraordinary talent for music at age 16 after building a cello because he was interested in the mechanics of the instrument.

“He was an intuitive musician, an absolutely instinctive musician. Music was in his DNA,” Jonathan said.

Members of the Academy of St Thomas are to perform a concert in memory of the academy's founder Ivan Cane who has died aged 90. Pictured is the first AST concert in rehearsal in 1973.
Photo: supplied by the Academy of St Thomas Members of the Academy of St Thomas are to perform a concert in memory of the academy's founder Ivan Cane who has died aged 90. Pictured is the first AST concert in rehearsal in 1973. Photo: supplied by the Academy of St Thomas

“We have had lovely letters from former pupils, some of who learned with him 30 or 40 years ago, writing to say how much he helped them on their musical journey. His legacy is that he influenced so many people with music. We have terrific memories of Dad and all his music teaching and playing.”

Mr Cane taught at schools in Staffordshire and Essex, before moving to Norfolk in 1966. He taught cello at schools in and around Norwich, and became head of the Instrumental Service, as well as conductor of the Norwich Students’ Orchestra which he took to Norwich’s twin cities Koblenz, Novi Sad and Rouen in the 1970s. He founded Academy of St Thomas in 1973 after organising a concert at St Thomas Church in June 1973. A second concert there in September 1973 was the academy’s first official performance and Mr Cane conducted 33 concerts with the AST over the next 10 years across Norfolk. He also played the cello with AST and in 1998 was appointed honorary life president of the academy which continues to flourish today.

A service celebrating Mr Cane’s life will take place at St Thomas Church, in Earlham Road, Norwich, at 2.30pm this Friday.

The Academy of St Thomas concert is at St Andrew’s Hall at 3pm on October 15. To book, visit www.academyofstthomas.com

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