Gertrude Huntly Green

Gertrude Huntly Green

ESQUIMALT HISTORY: Gertrude Huntly Green

Pianist had a well-known and distinguished career in Canada and abroad

Gertrude Huntly Green, a well-known and distinguished pianist, called Esquimalt home for nearly 50 years. Many an aspiring piano player visited her for lessons at her home on Grafton Street.

She had an interesting and full life.

Born in 1889 in St. Thomas, Ont., she initially gained prominence in music circles in Eastern Canada.

She first studied at the Conservatory of Music in London, Ont. where she showed true promise, possessing an extraordinary sense of musical pitch.

Adding the violin to her repertoire, she then continued her studies in Detroit, Mich., Paris, France and finally in Germany, gaining the attention and praise of renowned music teachers along the way.

But it was her growing prowess as an outstanding piano soloist that paved the way for the world stage – becoming one of Canada’s first female concert pianists to gain an international reputation.

Throughout most of her life, she spent part of each year performing not only locally but abroad in France, England and the United States. Her performances in Victoria, received much media attention.

On Oct. 3, 1919, the Colonist reported on a recital performed by her and Mary Izard to an appreciative audience of 1,200 at the Royal Theatre. Under the headline “Musical Triumph For Gifted Artists” the reporter used glowing terms to describe Huntly Green’s performance stating that it was “so much looked forward to by those who have long recognized the artist’s unique genius” and she had “more than surpassed expectations in the measure of pleasure which it afforded.”

The small stage also appealed to her as she hosted a number of “musicales” at her Grafton Street home.

Known as a caring friend and generous person – she often gave free piano lessons to neighbourhood children – she also helped to found the Victoria Conservatory of Music in 1965. Along the way she inspired many local, accomplished musicians including pianist Robin Wood another Esquimalt resident.

She died on Jan. 16, 1987 at age 98.