Robert Frederick Jones
A photo of Robert Jones
Robert Frederick Jones

It was with profound sadness that the College learned of the passing of longtime professor and veritable Vanier music icon, Robert Jones on April 3, 2012.

A composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher, Robert had also taught at McGill and Mount Allison Universities. With an MFA and PhD from Brandeis University, Jones studied with many noted composers and music theorists, including Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, and Robert Cogan. His extensive catalogue of compositions features more that sixty works for a wide variety of instruments, voices and styles.

Robert had been battling cancer during most of the time he was working steadfastly on composing his last monumental work, La Terra Promessa, which premiered here on May 6, 2011. This symphony for soloists, chorus and orchestra was commissioned to celebrate Vanier College’s 40th Anniversary.

Robert Jones taught music at Vanier College since 1976. His compositions have been performed in North and South America, Asia and Europe in such places as Westminster Abbey and Salisbury Cathedral. He once said that his work was influenced by the colours, moods, and austere landscape of the Arizona desert where he grew up.

Robert left his indelible mark onto an entire generation of Vanier music students with his profound knowledge, his phenomenal creativity and his superb virtuosity both as a performer and, of course, as a composer. His students will miss him greatly as will all of us at Vanier who knew him. His loss will be keenly felt by the Vanier music faculty members who best knew and loved him.

A consummate performer, a prodigious composer, and an inspirational teacher, Robert will be greatly missed.

An earlier photo of Robert Jones

Robert Jones' funeral was held on Saturday, April 21st at 1:00PM at Christ Church Cathedral, 635 Saint Catherine Street West, and was followed by a reception at Fulford Hall adjacent to the church. This unforgettable service featured music almost wholly written by Dr. Jones. One of the pieces performed, The Lamb, written as part of his symphony La Terra Promessa, was beautifully rendered by a group featuring members of the Vanier College Choir, supplemented by colleagues, friends and former students. To hear this piece, click here. Many more musical performances during the funeral served to continually remind us of the enormity both of his talent and of his loss. The eulogy, delivered by long-time friend and colleague Ron Headland, was a moving tribute to Robert's life as a friend and family man and also a testimony to his musical contributions as a composer, performer and teacher.


Read the obituary that appeared in the Montreal Gazette of April 14, 2012. Click here.

Recordings of some of Robert Jones' music can be found by clicking here.

Much more information is available from Robert Jones' website. Click here.

Immediately following the announcement of his death, Robert was the subject of an article in the Montreal Gazette written by music critic Bernard Perusse. To read it in its entirety, click here. Robert was also the subject of a Gazette article published just prior to the world premiere of his symphony La Terra Promessa.

There was also a wonderfully glowing review of La Terra Promessa written by noted classical guitarist Patrick Kearney. To read it, click here. Mr. Kearney also published a bio of Robert Jones.

taken by John Mahoney for the Montreal Gazette article linked above

Note: If you have either info or photos of anyone listed on our Memorial website, we'd appreciate your sharing them with us. Send digital photos by email or hard copies by internal mail to Denis Lafontaine, N215. They will be treated with care and quickly and safely returned.You can email written memories to the following email address. Thank you.