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Canadian Heritage

Art Maiste


ARMAS (ART) MAISTE (pianist) was born March 9, 1929 in Tallinn, Estonia, relocated to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1950. He studied music for several years first at the State Academy of Music in Estonia and later at the State Academy in Stockholm, Sweden. While continuing his active playing career there, in both classical and contemporary music, he also pursued further studies, obtaining a Bachelor of Music Degree from Montreal’s McGill University in 1972. He taught at McGill for nine years before relocating to Toronto and a teaching position at Humber College in 1984.

Maiste was pianist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra appearing in concert and on all of the MSO’s recordings for 25 years (1958 to 1983). Throughout the same period, his career as a multi-genre pianist flourished in clubs, concerts, the recording studio, and radio and television performances, as well as accompanying variety stars from Carmen Miranda to Sammy Davis Jr.

As a familiar figure at jazz festivals the world over, Maiste played jazz piano at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1971, at the 1973 Oslo, Norway Jazz Festival, and as a member of an All-Star Jazz Sextet at the 1979 Bracknell, North Sea, and Montreux jazz festivals. He also played frequently at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the du Maurier Downtown Jazz Festival in Toronto.

Art Maiste played with the Humber College Faculty Sextet when they appeared in concert during the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Series at the Ontario Science Centre on January 21. 1991, and later, as a solo pianist on February 22, 1993.