By Sally Gross
Prior to joining the Western Springs School of Talent Education (Illinois) faculty as the Artist in Residence in 1989, Thomas Wermuth was an active part of the Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo music community for many years.
After graduating from the Juilliard School in 1973, Mr. Wermuth accepted a position with the Canadian Opera Company, never anticipating that he would remain in Canada for many years. A couple of years later he became the Assistant Concertmaster with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, later moving over to Principal Violist. The KWS was – and remains – a tight-knit family of musicians and Mr. Wermuth is still in close contact with many of the members, especially his good friend Martha Kalyniak. The birth of his daughter Allegra in 1974 remains a highpoint of his life.
In addition to playing in the symphony, Mr. Wermuth taught with the Suzuki String School of Guelph (1975-1987). The school’s director, Daphne Hughes, was one of the pioneers of the Suzuki movement in Canada and was a co-founder of the SSSG in 1972. She thought that the Suzuki community would be a good fit for Mr. Wermuth, and she was correct. He did his Suzuki training with Kay Collier Slone (McLaughlin) at the University of Louisville in the late 70’s.
Mr. Wermuth was a co-director of the first Guelph Suzuki String Institute (now the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute) in 1983. By this time, he was highly sought after as a guest clinician throughout Canada and the United States.
Upon leaving the Guelph school, Mr. Wermuth continued to teach in the Kitchener-Waterloo area until leaving for the Chicago suburbs in 1989 at the invitation of Edward Kreitman.
During his years of teaching in the Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo area, Mr. Wermuth worked with many young musicians who to this day see him as one of the most influential people in their lives – a long list of pupils who are no less indebted to him than his WSSTE students.
So in addition to Mr. Wermuth’s illustrious teaching career of thirty-two years at the WSSTE, add an additional fourteen years of teaching in Canada for a total of forty-six years of commitment to building the next generation of not only wonderful musicians and teachers, but fine human beings who all adore him. We all wish him the best as he starts the next chapter of his life in Colorado.
For further information about upcoming celebrations, letters of congratulations, photos, and videos, please visit: https://www.wsste.com/wermuth