Thomas Monohan

Thomas (Shahan) Monohan. Bassist, teacher, b Louisville, Kentucky, 30 Jun 1937, naturalized Canadian 1971, d Toronto 20 Feb 1994; Artist Diploma (Curtis) 1958.

Monohan, Thomas

Thomas (Shahan) Monohan. Bassist, teacher, b Louisville, Kentucky, 30 Jun 1937, naturalized Canadian 1971, d Toronto 20 Feb 1994; Artist Diploma (Curtis) 1958. He studied at the Curtis Institute with Roger Scott and played 1958-65 with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the National (Washington, DC) Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In 1966 he became principal bass of the TSO and began to teach at the University of Toronto and the RCM. During a Toronto Symphony Orchestra tour performance in Dublin, the reviewer for the Irish Times, 1 Sep 1986, singled out the orchestra's bass section, describing it as 'a superb bottom line of eight double basses of a quality not excelled even by those of the Vienna Philharmonic.' Monohan retired as principal bass of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1991, but remained as a member of the section with the newly created title of principal bass emeritus. At the time of his retirement, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra bass section was composed entirely of his former pupils.

Monohan was highly regarded as a double-bass teacher. His pupils hold positions in major orchestras throughout Canada and abroad. He was a coach 1966-73 for the NYO. He continued to teach at the University of Toronto and the RCM until his death, and, from 1974, had coached the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. He wrote Melodic Studies for the Double Bass (Harris 1973). He was heard often in CBC recitals and, in 1966, he performed with Ten Centuries Concerts, and gave the first Canadian performance of Vittorio Giannini's Psalm 130 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He commissioned Walter Buczynski'sDuo (1975) for bass and piano and premiered it 16 May 1976 in Toronto. The composer Daniel Foley wrote many teaching pieces for double-bass at Monohan's request.

Writings

Melodic studies for the double bass: An early beginners book (Oakville 1973)


Further Reading

  • Lasker, David. "His last bow," Toronto Globe and Mail, 28 Feb 1994