Bertha Drechsler Adamson
Bertha Drechsler Adamson (b Hamilton). Violinist, teacher, conductor, b Edinburgh 25 Mar 1848, d Toronto 12 May 1924. A relative of the noted cellists Louis and Karl Drechsler she first studied music with her father, Adam Hamilton, a pianist and organist who taught at the University of Edinburgh. She and her sister Emily studied violin in Leipzig with Ferdinand David for five years and played before German nobility. She performed extensively in the UK with her father's piano quartet, which included her sister and her brother Carl Hamilton, a cellist. On marrying in 1869 she moved to Canada, settling at first in Hamilton, then moving in 1871 to Toronto, where in 1887 she became a member of the original teaching staff at the TCM. She taught 1887-8 at the TCM and was the first violinist in a Conservatory String Quartette in 1888. She rejoined the TCM in 1895 and later conducted the Conservatory String Orchestra for many years, was the first violin 1901-4 of the Toronto Conservatory String Quartette, and played 1906-18 in the Conservatory Symphony Orchestra (after 1908 the Welsman's TSO). Her pupils included Harry Adaskin, Frank Blachford, Julia Grover Choate, and her daughter Lina Drechsler Adamson (b Emily Caroline Adamson, Toronto 1876, d there 28 Feb 1960), who also studied 1904-5 in Leipzig with Hans Sitt and much later in Switzerland with André de Ribaupierre. Lina played with the Toronto Conservatory String Quartette (her mother was lead violin, Lena Hayes Smith, later the wife of Leo Smith, was viola, and first Henry S. Saunders then Lois Winslow, cello) and made her concert debut ca 1905 at Massey Hall with the Conservatory String Orchestra under her mother's direction. Ca 1908 she formed the Toronto Ladies Trio with Eugénie Quéhen (piano) and Lois Winslow (cello). She taught violin at the Peterborough Conservatory and at the TCM. She inherited her mother's strength and intelligence as a performer.