Frank Thorolfson. Educator, pianist, organist, conductor, composer, b Winnipeg, of Icelandic parents, 5 Feb 1914, d Hamilton, Ont, 26 Mar 1977; ATCM 1932, LAB 1933, M MUS (Chicago Musical College) 1952, honorary FRHCM 1972. His father, Halldor Thorolfson, was a singer and the conductor of the Winnipeg Icelandic Choral Society and of church choirs. Frank studied piano with Eva Clare and Ragnar H. Ragnar in Winnipeg and orchestral conducting on scholarship at McGill University. He served 1944-6 in the Canadian army and subsequently (1947-52) attended the Chicago Musical College, where his teachers were Rudolph Ganz (piano), Hans Rosenwald, and Paul Nettl (musicology). He held administrative and teaching positions 1949-51 at the Chicago Metropolitan School of Music and the Chicago Musical College. Returning to Canada ca 1953, he taught 1955-8 at the Regina Conservatory of Music, serving also in Regina as organist at Knox-Metropolitan United Church. He was appointed music director at McMaster University in 1959 and served 1965-70 as the first chairman of its music department, teaching history and aesthetics. He was chancellor 1972-7 of the RHCM.
Thorolfson founded (and directed 1938-42) the Winnipeg Chamber Orchestra and conducted the Chicago Bach Chorus 1947-52, the University of Manitoba SO 1942-4 and 1946, the Regina Ladies' Choir 1953-8, the Bach Elgar Choir of Hamilton 1960-1, and other groups. Thorolfson's opera The Qu'Appelle River Legend (1955) was commissioned for Saskatchewan's Golden Jubilee (1956). His Saskatchewan Scenes for piano were composed in 1957. Thorolfson's first wife was the Winnipeg violist Irene Diehl.