Nicholas Kilburn

Nicholas (Weldon) Kilburn. Bassoonist, teacher, b Toronto 21 Jun 1932, d Cobourg, Ont 31 Jul 2007. Nicholas Kilburn first studied piano, and later began bassoon lessons at Lawrence Park Collegiate. He was mentored by G. Roy Fenwick.

Kilburn, Nicholas

Nicholas (Weldon) Kilburn. Bassoonist, teacher, b Toronto 21 Jun 1932, d Cobourg, Ont 31 Jul 2007. Nicholas Kilburn first studied piano, and later began bassoon lessons at Lawrence Park Collegiate. He was mentored by G. Roy Fenwick. At the Royal Conservatory of Music 1948-51, Kilburn's teachers were Elver Wahlberg (bassoon), his father, Weldon Kilburn (piano), Samuel Dolin (theory and harmony), and John Weinzweig (orchestration). He also studied bassoon with Raymond Allard (New England Conservatory, 1951) and Sol Schoenbach (Curtis Institute, 1952-5). Kilburn was a member 1955-8 of the National Ballet of Canada orchestra and 1955-9 of the CBC Symphony Orchestra. He joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as principal bassoon in 1959, becoming co-principal with Christopher Weait in 1968 and associate principal in 1986. His solo performances included the premiere of Dolin's Isometric Variables with the Hart House Orchestra in 1959, the first complete performance of Weinzweig's Divertimento No. 3 with the CBC Symphony Orchestra in 1961, and appearances with the Toronto Symphony in Mozart's Bassoon Concerto in 1965 and Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante, Opus 84 in 1978. In 1968 he recorded the North American premiere of André Jolivet's Concerto for Bassoon and Strings. Kilburn performed in concert and on recordings as a member 1955-70 of the Toronto Woodwind Quintet. He taught 1955-78 at the University of Toronto where his pupils included Mitchell Clarke, William Douglas, James McKay, Gordon Slater, and Norman Tobias. His first wife was the soprano Ilona Kombrink.

Kilburn was awarded a 1981 Canadian Music Council medal to recognize his services to musical life in Canada. He was chairman 1978-9 of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians.

See also Michael Kilburn and Paul Kilburn (his brothers).

Writings

'Orchestras: a matter of training and boards,' Musicanada, 50, Oct 1983

'Our orchestras: need young Canadians apply?,' Musicanada, 54, Jul 1985


Further Reading

  • Kirby, Blaik. 'Kilburn's musical dynasty,' Toronto Daily Star, 17 Mar 1962

    'Nicholas Kilburn receives Canada [sic] Music Council award,' OCSM Newsletter, vol 4, Apr-May 1981

    Labbett, Wendy. 'Nicholas Kilburn,' TS News, Mar-Apr 1985