Fonds 1317 - Walter Joachim Fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Walter Joachim Fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Cartographic material
  • Sound recording
  • Textual record
  • Object

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Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on the subject of the fonds.

Level of description


Reference code

CA JPL-A 1317

Edition area

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Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1951-2002 (Creation)
    Joachim, Walter, 1912-2001

Physical description area

Physical description

28.5 cm of textual record
388 photographs
4 audio cassette tapes
6 Medals

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Walter Joachim was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1912, and was an influential cellist and teacher in the Canadian and Chinese music scenes. Joachim occupied the roles of principal cellist in the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, McGill Chamber Orchestra and CBC Orchestra, he also co-founded the Montreal String Quartet. Joachim was a revered teacher and taught at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Montreal Conservatory of Music, and McGill University. Joachim was awarded the Order of Canada in 1992, and the Order of Quebec in 1995. His legacy is honoured by the Walter Joachim Scholarship in Music, awarded by The Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal.
Joachim came from a musical family and began playing violin at the age of five with his bother Otto. Walter left Germany in 1938 to escape the second world war, he moved to Malaysia to join Otto and toured there and China before accepting the role of principal cellist at the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in 1940. While in Shanghai Joachim also became the head of the cello department at the Shanghai Conservatory.
In 1952 Joachim moved to Montreal and in 1953 he became the principal cellist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO), a position he held until 1979. At this time Joachim also joined the McGill Chamber Orchestra where he played as principal cellist for 28 years. This was an active time in Joachim’s musical life where he taught at the Montreal Conservatory of Music, and was a frequent guest on CBC radio, and with the CBC Orchestra. Joachim left the MSO in 1979 due to early onset Parkinsons, after his retirement he focused on teaching, and was an ally to many students from Shanghai attempting to study in North America. From 1987-1991 Joachim and his wife Monique toured Shanghai and guest taught in many schools.
Joachim passed away in 2001 in Montreal, Quebec.

Custodial history

Fonds was donated by Miriam Joachim Wazeter in 2002.

Scope and content

The fonds contains materials relating to Walter Joachim’s music career, from his early years in Montreal in the 1950’s to posthumous records and tributes of his life and legacy.
The materials in the fonds reflect Joachim’s professional life, and primarily cover the tour of Shanghai that he completed from 1987-1991 with his wife, and fellow music teacher Monique. The fonds comprises of correspondence with musicians and students, mainly students from China, and a large number of holiday and birthday cards. There is also ephemera from concerts, performances and events, including programs and news clippings represented in the fonds, along with tourist items collected in Shanghai with items like travel itineraries, maps and receipts.
The fonds contains over four hundred photographs that document early portraits of Joachim from the 1950’s to important events such as Joachim’s win at the awards ceremony for the Order of Canada and Quebec (in 1992 and 1995). Joachim and his wife Monique’s tour of Shanghai is well documented with many photographs of them teaching at the Shanghai Conservatory of music and at children’s schools.
Audio cassette tapes of recordings of Joachim’s students and performances are included in the fonds, along with several scores and associated ephemera. The fonds also contains the six medals awarded to Joachim from the Order of Canada, and the Order National du Quebec.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • Chinese
  • English
  • French

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    Rules for Archival Description


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    Dates of creation, revision and deletion

    This description was created by Processing Archivist Lucy Pauker in May 2023.

    Language of description

    • English

    Script of description


      Accession area