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The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Mourns the Loss of Conductor Victor Feldbrill

June 18, 2020

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) joins the orchestral community in mourning the loss of longtime TSO collaborator and conductor Victor Feldbrill at age 96.

Victor Feldbrill on stage at Roy Thomson Hall with the TSO in 2017 (Photo: Jag Gundu)

Victor Feldbrill's association with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra spans more than 70 years. He first conducted the TSO in 1943, when he was just 18, and went on to serve as Resident Conductor from 1973 to 1978. A fierce champion of Canadian music, he last appeared with the TSO in 2017, when he conducted concerts for our Canada 150 project at 93 years old. 

In 1949, he strengthened his ties with the TSO by joining the first violin section, a position he held until 1956 when he became Assistant Conductor. He founded the TSO's Light Classics Series in 1972. 

Music education also featured prominently in his career. The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra was founded under Mr. Feldbrill's leadership, and he served as its founding conductor for four years, beginning with its inception in 1974. In addition, he conducted all of the TSO's educational concerts from 1968 to 1978. 

“Victor Feldbrill left an indelible mark on the TSO through his many contributions over 70 years. For many, he was the face of the TSO because of his prolific and constant presence on our podium from the 1950s through the 1980s. His championship of Canadian music can still be felt in our repertoire today,” says Matthew Loden, CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. “We extend our condolences to his loved ones, and mourn his loss with the orchestra community as we remember his lasting legacy.” 

“It seems incredible to me that the eternally young Victor Feldbrill is no longer with us,” says Sir Andrew Davis, Interim Artistic Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. “In our last lively conversation, I was taken back to our first meeting in 1974 after he had seen the TSO through a difficult period. His devotion to the Orchestra then and ever afterwards had great meaning for me. His championing of Canadian music was second to none, and many composers were and are indebted to his commitment and enthusiasm. Perhaps, above all, his positive and joyful outlook on life was an example to us all. He is much missed.”

Born and educated in Toronto, Mr. Feldbrill studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, and composition at the Royal College of Music in London, England, after serving in the Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Upon his return to Toronto, he became Concertmaster and Assistant Conductor of The Royal Conservatory Symphony and The Royal Conservatory Opera. In 1958, he was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, a post he held for 10 years. He was also the Conductor-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Music Department from 1968 to 1982. Mr. Feldbrill conducted every major orchestra in Canada and around the world. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1986.

Donations can be made to the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra in memory of Victor Feldbrill at TSO.CA/Tribute or by phone at 416.598.5311.

View Victor Feldbrill’s obituary here.

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