Ida Krehm

Ida Krehm (m Pick). Pianist, teacher, conductor, b Toronto 24 Feb 1912 of Russian parents, naturalized US 1944, d San Jose, Costa Rica, 12 Aug 1998. In Toronto she studied piano with Ernest J. Farmer, Norah Drewett de Kresz, and Viggo Kihl and theory with Willan.

Krehm, Ida

Ida Krehm (m Pick). Pianist, teacher, conductor, b Toronto 24 Feb 1912 of Russian parents, naturalized US 1944, d San Jose, Costa Rica, 12 Aug 1998. In Toronto she studied piano with Ernest J. Farmer, Norah Drewett de Kresz, and Viggo Kihl and theory with Willan. She won many piano awards as a child and was teaching at 13. Her first public appearance (1924) was at Bloor St United Church, Toronto. In 1929 she went to study with Rudolph Ganz in Chicago. In 1936 in Chicago she married Joseph Richard Pick (pianist, composer, textile broker, b Chicago 1901, d there 1955), whose sympathy and support were significant in her career. In 1937, in the course of three weeks, she won the Schubert Memorial Award (three appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy), the National (US) Federation of Music Clubs cash prize, and the Naumburg Foundation Award (a New York Town Hall debut recital, 14 Dec 1937). For the first time ever the Naumburg award was made without a final hearing, so impressed was the jury with Krehm's performance.

Krehm made her Canadian professional debut 2 Mar 1939 at Hart House, University of Toronto, for the Women's Musical Club of Toronto. She soon gained wider recognition as a recitalist and as an orchestral soloist in North America (Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, St Louis, Toronto), Europe, and South America. She was Ernest Bloch's chosen soloist for the premiere 2 Dec 1950 of his Scherzo fantasque with the Chicago Symphony and introduced works by Jiri Antonin Benda, Norman Dello Joio, M.K. Ciurlionis, Rudolph Ganz, Carlos Surinach, Alexander Tansman, and Alexander Tcherepnin. In 1962 at Hilversum, Holland, she made her debut as pianist-conductor, and she repeated this dual function in Berlin, London (English Chamber Orchestra, Melos Ensemble), Toronto (CBC), and Trondheim, Norway; at the first Orvieto Festival (1976); and in India and the Phillippines. In 1958 she took up residence in Hampstead, England. On an OAC grant she commissioned Srul Irving Glick'sConcertino (1977), written especially for her to conduct from the keyboard. Moving to Switzerland, she lived there for a time in the 1970s. The last two years of her life she lived in Costa Rica.

She recorded Schumann's Fantasia, Opus 17 (Delyse ECB-3154) and works of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, and others (Piano Music from Russia, CBC SM-247). Her work was characterized by high competence and a questing intelligence. The Krehm family established the Ida Krehm Memorial Scholarship at the RCM. A profile of Krehm was presented on CBC radio in March 1999.

Writings

'Why not women conductors?' Music Journal, Feb 1969

'NFMC sponsors fall benefit,' Music Journal, Oct 1974


Further Reading

  • Krehm, William. 'Lives lived: Ida Krehm,' Globe and Mail, 29 Sep 1998

    'Planned giving: remembering Ida Krehm,' Music in Our Lives, summer 2000