Ira Swartz

Ira (Wesley) Swartz. Pianist, teacher, b Walla Walla, Wash, 23 Jul 1902, d Vancouver 29 May 1991. He was a pupil during the l920s of J.D.A.

Swartz, Ira

Ira (Wesley) Swartz. Pianist, teacher, b Walla Walla, Wash, 23 Jul 1902, d Vancouver 29 May 1991. He was a pupil during the l920s of J.D.A. Tripp and Gertrude Huntly Green in Vancouver, Paul Pierre McNeely and Boyd Wells in Seattle, and Maxim Schapiro in San Francisco and in the l940s of Arthur Benjamin in Vancouver. One of the first soloists with the CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra (playing Bach's D-Minor Concerto), Swartz also performed under Allard de Ridder at the Malkin Bowl concerts and at the Promenade Concerts (Vancouver) in the (now demolished) Denman Auditorium. Until the mid-l950s he was particularly known as a recitalist and chamber musician. Debussy and Ravel were a specialty, and his CBC recitals often featured works of those composers. With Jean de Rimanoczy he performed all of the violin sonatas of Mozart and Beethoven. He also toured (ca l95l) in British Columbia with the Russian violinist Robert Kitain. Swartz taught piano privately in Vancouver for over 50 years and retired in 1987; he was a remarkably sensitive pianist and an inspiring teacher, knowledgable about many subjects - especially painting, architecture, literature, and North American folk art and customs. He numbered many artists (eg, Lawren Harris) among his friends. His pupils include Bryan Gooch, Kari-Jo Miller, and Robert Rogers.