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Ernest O. Caneva papers

 Collection 0325-SCPA

Ernest O. Caneva was an American band conductor, educator, composer, clinician, and adjudicator. His papers consist of scores, correspondence, documents, photographs, newsclippings, recordings, awards, and a band hat (or shako) pertaining to his career primarily at Lockport High School in Lockport, IL. Materials were created between 1962 and 1990.


  • 1926-1991


6.5 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Ernest O. Caneva (born 8 Dec. 1907, Asiago, Italy; died 4 April 1992, Joliet, IL), was an American band conductor, educator, composer, clinician, and adjudicator. His father, Luciano O. Caneva, was also a band conductor in Asiago, Italy. By age nine, he was a percussionist in his father’s band, and at 15 he was composing for the band as well. In 1924, his family emigrated to the US; he enlisted that year in the US Navy Reserve Band. Caneva’s formal music education began at the Collegio Baggio and at Vicenza Conservatory, both in Italy. In the US, he studied at Northwestern University and DePaul University. However, it was at VanderCook College where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education (1939) and a Master of Music (1959). In 1932, prior to earning his degrees, he was appointed Director of Bands at Lockport High School in Illinois. While serving as Director of Bands in Lockport, he concurrently organized bands at six local elementary schools. During his tenure, the Lockport H.S. band attained recognition at The Midwest Clinic numerous times, at the New York World’s Fair (1940), and at other festivals throughout the US, including winning The Music Man Band Award (1962). Caneva retired from the Lockport school system in 1972. For the following five years he served as band director for Providence Catholic School. Beginning in 1978, he was appointed the Program Director for the Performing Arts Center in Lockport, which was eventually renamed for Caneva in the late 1980s. He was elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association in 1958, and was a charter member of the American School Band Directors Association and the National Band Association. Caneva was also active in the Music Educators National Conference (now National Association for Music Education), and regionally in the Illinois Music Educators Association. Awards include a “Mac” award, named for bandmaster A.R. McAllister (1961), an Alumni Distinguished Service Award at VanderCook College (1976), and election to Northwestern University’s Bandmaster’s Hall of Fame (1984). Caneva’s sons Donald (d. 2008) and Thomas E. were elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association in 1976 and 2001 respectively.

Sources Rehrig, William H. The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. Westerville, OH: Integrity Press, 1991. Caneva, T. (2010, February 24). "Caneva, Ernest Oreste." Grove Music Online. Retrieved 28 Feb. 2019, from

Custodial History

This collection was received in one shipment from Thomas E. Caneva (Ernest's son) in May 2015.

Ernest O. Caneva Papers
Christina Taylor Gibson and Vincent Novara, April 2019
April 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States