Wendy Rose

Associate Principal Second Violin

Wendy Rose

Hometown: Montreal

Instrument (s): violin

Age you began playing: Started piano lessons age 6; violin at almost age 7

Year you joined the TSO: 1981

Why did you choose to be a professional musician? The decision to be an orchestral musician originated with my years with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. I fell in love with the orchestral repertoire and the love affair continues!

Does your instrument have a story? It is possible that my violin is one of the oldest in the orchestra. It was made in Cremona in 1641 by Francesco Ruggieri.

What is interesting to you about working in an orchestra? Unlike many violinists who dream of being soloists, I have always wanted to play in a major symphony orchestra. To me, no other music is as glorious as that for orchestra, and the sensation of being engulfed by that overpowering sound is incomparable. The range of music is extraordinary, from large-scale works that combine choir and orchestra to the most sublime pieces of chamber music. The particular listening skills required and the blending of such diverse talents and interpretations into a cohesive performance provide a constant challenge. I also feel blessed to be a mere arm’s length away from the greatest soloists of our time, not to mention the constant exposure to the brilliant playing of my colleagues.

What is your favourite music to play? I find my greatest thrills in playing the works of Gustav Mahler and the symphonies of Brahms. I will never tire of Mozart or Beethoven either!

What is your most memorable concert experience as an audience member? Probably the most formative performance of my life and therefore, the most memorable for me as an audience member, was a concert given by Yo-Yo Ma when he and I were both 14 years old. We were summer students at the Meadowmount School of Music, and some friends and I went to hear him play the Franck Sonata in a neighbouring town. I had never heard the piece before, despite the fact that it is often played on the violin. Yo-Yo at 14 was already the sensational cellist he is today, and the Franck Sonata is simply one of the most beautiful and moving works ever written. For the first time in my life, I found myself bawling simply because of the extraordinary beauty of the music. It was then that I fully recognized the power of music and knew that I had to be part of that process.

What music/piece/composer is your “guilty pleasure”? Simon and Garfunkel! I have loved their music since I was 13 and know every song.

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Musician Biography

Wendy Rose first joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1981 and became Assistant Principal Second Violin in 1985. Her early training included violin and piano lessons in her native Montreal, followed by university studies at The Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and at the University of Toronto with Lorand Fenyves. After receiving her Bachelor of Music in Performance in 1978 as well as First Prize in the Remenyi Competition, Ms. Rose spent several years playing in the Toronto Chamber Players and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.

Since joining the TSO, Ms. Rose has been active in the studio music scene in Toronto, participating in the recording of countless film scores and albums. She has also played in several chamber music ensembles and is currently a member of the Halcyon Quartet with TSO members Paul Meyer, Kent Teeple, and Marie Gelinas. As a coach and teacher, Ms. Rose has been involved with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and several education programmes run by the TSO. She also enjoys teaching privately. 

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