Thomas Rolston | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Thomas Rolston

Thomas (Edmund) Rolston. Violinist, violist, teacher, b Vancouver 31 Oct 1932, d there 29 May 2010; LRSM 1949, ARAM 1961, honorary LLD (Wilfrid Laurier) 1998.

Rolston, Thomas

Thomas (Edmund) Rolston. Violinist, violist, teacher, b Vancouver 31 Oct 1932, d there 29 May 2010; LRSM 1949, ARAM 1961, honorary LLD (Wilfrid Laurier) 1998. After violin study in Vancouver with Douglas Stewart, he attended the Mannes College of Music in New York, training 1949-50 under Roman Totenberg. He studied 1950-3 with David Martin at the RAM and was a member 1951-8 of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. He attended the Brussels Conservatory 1956-7 and returned to Canada in 1958 to take up a position (retained until 1964) as concertmaster and associate conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and to teach at the University of Alberta where he remained until 1979. He premiered Jean Coulthard'sConcerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in 1959 and helped found the University of Alberta String Quartet in 1969. Rolston introduced the Suzuki method of violin instruction to Canada, founding in 1964 the Society for Talent Education which by 1974 had instructed some 600 pupils.

He began teaching also at the Banff SFA, serving as head of the string department 1965-71, music co-ordinator 1971-7, and music director 1977-9. In 1979 he became the first director of the school's new year-round program for advanced studies. During the 1980s Rolston continued to create new programs for the Banff SFA and developed a resident ensemble, the Canadian Chamber Orchestra. During this period his administrative leadership helped to bring that institution's Centre for the Performing Arts into international prominence. He led the Banff Festival Strings in a 1991 CD Intimate Baroque (Summit DCD-118) and was the violin soloist in Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F on that recording. He taught 1988-91 at the Department of Music of the University of Calgary. In 1991 he served as a member of the jury for the Naumburg International Competition (New York) for violists.

In 1974 he received an Alberta Achievement Award in recognition of his work as an educator and in 1982 he was made a Fellow of the RAM in recognition of his contribution to music in Canada.

See also Discography for University of Alberta String Quartet.

See also Isobel Moore (his wife) and Shauna Rolston (his daughter).

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