Canadian music legend Howard Cable dies at 95

Halifax, NS – Symphony Nova Scotia is deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of its Pops Conductor Laureate, the great Canadian music legend Howard Cable. Howard died peacefully at home in Toronto on March 30, just after spending a day working on the music for his upcoming 2016 concert with Symphony Nova Scotia.

Howard’s relationship with Symphony Nova Scotia extends back 30 years, and his regular annual appearances with the orchestra consistently ranked as audience favourites. His combination of accessible scores, witty stories, and broad experience in the Canadian music industry helped to make him the musical voice of a generation, with a fervent and passionate following.

Howard’s 79-year career in the music industry is one of the longest in North America, beginning back in 1937 when he formed his first dance band in Toronto. He went on to work as a composer for CBC Radio, where he earned his own shows, including Music by Cable, Canadian Cavalcade, Canadian General Electric Hour, and Jolly Miller Time, before making the move to TV with the popular program Showtime.

In the 1960s, Howard moved to New York, where he conducted two Broadway musicals. He also worked for Broadway legends like Richard Rodgers, Meredith Willson, and Frank Loesser, arranging their music for publication. Though his career could have continued indefinitely in the United States, Howard chose to return home to become Director of Onsite Entertainment for the massive World’s Fair event Expo ‘67. His longest running contribution to Canadian heritage began in 1986, when he was asked by the Commanding Officer of the Ceremonial Guard to write their signature march. This music is still played every day for the changing of the guard on Parliament Hill.

Howard’s busy career also included a 20-year relationship arranging for the Canadian Brass, regular engagements conducting orchestras across Canada, serving as executive producer for many large-scale live shows, composing scores for 11 NFB films, releasing multiple recordings, and teaching at Humber College, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and Dalhousie University. He also worked regularly in musical theatre, collaborating with top-tier artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Bob Hope, Victor Borge, Danny Kaye, and Jim Carrey.

Right up until his death, Howard’s broad repertoire, experience, and deep audience connections kept him in high demand. He maintained a busy schedule composing and arranging music, as well as numerous conducting engagements each year. He also embraced the internet and social media, regularly posting in his Twitter account at, and starting a blog called “Howard Cable Remembers” where he shared personal anecdotes and stories about his 79-year career. His last post was entitled “How A Corned-Beef Sandwich Got Me To Broadway.”

Howard’s most recent appearance with Symphony Nova Scotia was in November 2015, with two performances of his very popular Big Band show. He had been scheduled to reappear with the orchestra again in November 2016, hosting a concert of Broadway music he arranged for the Broadway legend Richard Rodgers. Symphony Nova Scotia is planning to proceed with the concert in Howard’s memory, paying tribute to his many, many contributions to the orchestra and its community.

“It’s a wonderful privilege to have been able to work with Howard Cable for the last thirty years,” says Chris Wilkinson, CEO of Symphony Nova Scotia. “Symphony Nova Scotia has been blessed to have had this close connection with Howard. His music will live on long after he’s gone.”

Details will be announced at a later date regarding a celebration of Howard’s life. For updates, please sign up for Symphony Nova Scotia’s e-newsletter at or visit our Facebook page at

Howard Cable: “We’ve had a wonderful time…”

About Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia is Nova Scotia’s orchestra. Each year more than 50,000 audience members (including 15,000 young music lovers) join us in communities across Nova Scotia for performances of the music they love – from baroque and classical to pop and rock and folk. Under the inspirational leadership of Music Director Bernhard Gueller, Symphony Nova Scotia is one of the most broadcast orchestras in the country, with over 20 commercial releases and multiple East Coast Music Awards. Visit to learn more, listen online, or get tickets today!


For more information, please contact:
Heidi MacPhee
Director of Communications and Marketing, Symphony Nova Scotia
[email protected]