Jean Coulthard

Soon the Lafayette Quartet will be back on our stage!  One of the pieces they will perform is String Quartet No. 2: Threnody (1954, rev 1969), written by Jean Coulthard.

Coulthard was born in Vancouver in 1908 and passed away in 2000.  Born into a family with a doctor for a father and a singer for a mother, her life was filled with music from an early age.  Her mother, also named Jean, her first piano teacher. In 1920 she travelled to London to study at the Royal College of Music for a year. In the 20’s, 30’s, and early 40’s she travelled in North America and Europe, married, had a daughter, and eventually settled with her family in Vancouver again. In 1947 she started teaching in the Department of Music at the University of British Columbia. She taught both theory and composition.

Coulthard was the first west coast composer to receive wide spread recognition. In 1978, she was made a member of the Order of Canada. Over the years she composed more than 350 pieces covering pretty much every genre. She composed for 30 years after her retirement from teaching and finished her final piece just a couple of months before her death in early 2000.

What an honour to have on our stage a first class west coast quartet playing a piece from such an influential and respected west coast composer.


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