William Kuinka | The Canadian Encyclopedia


William Kuinka

William Kuinka, mandolinist, bassist, guitarist (born 28 January 1916 in Anyox, BC; died 7 April 2008 in Toronto, ON). ARCT 1951.

After service in World War II as a member of an Army Show unit, he studied at the RCMT with Charles Rose (string bass), John Weinzweig (theory), John Moskalyk (violin), and others, at the Advanced School of Contemporary Music, Toronto, with Ray Brown (bass), and in New York with Fred Zimmerman (bass). He taught himself to play various fretted instruments, specializing in mandolin but attaining proficiency also in guitar. He played double-bass in several Canadian orchestras (CBC Symphony Orchestra, TSO, Pro Arte Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra) and mandolin solos with the Ivan Romanoff orchestra on radio, TV, and recordings and in concert. While playing viola da gamba and mandolin 1963-5 with the Toronto Renaissance Quintet, he formed the Toronto Mandolin Chamber Ensemble in 1964 for concerts in libraries, art galleries and schools. The ensemble continued until 1969.

In 1966, Kuinka received a Canada Council grant for research in Europe into teaching methods and repertoire for fretted instruments. He taught classical guitar 1965-79 at the Brodie School of Music, Toronto, and string instruments 1969-81, then adult education courses 1981-9, for the Etobicoke Board of Education (Toronto). He taught mandolin 1980-1 at Wilfrid Laurier University. Kuinka encouraged Canadian composers to write for the mandolin and premiered or participated in the premieres of Charles Camilleri's Sonata da Camera (1963), Morris Surdin's Concerto for Mandolin and Strings (1966), Walter Buczynski's Trio/67, Frederick Karam's Concerto for Mandolin and Large Orchestra (1969), Eldon Rathburn's The Metamorphic Ten (1971, recorded under the composer's direction on Crystal S504), Bruce Mather's Orchestra Piece (1967), Mandola (1972) and Madrigal V (1973), Robert Bauer's Mao (1973, recorded on Melbourne SMLP-4028, which also includes Kuinka and Bauer performing Bauer's Filaments ), and Gary T. HayesPreludes and Dances, Book 1 (1978). Kuinka also played in NMC presentations, and performed with Nexus and with the SMCQ.

Kuinka's daughter, Valerie (born 1957), who studied viola with Terence Helmer and Rivka Golani at the University of Toronto and with Donald McInnes at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, joined the orchestras of the National Ballet of Canada in 1984 and the COC in 1986. She is married to the tenor Richard Margison.