The former assistant to Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School was 92


Violinist Sally Thomas |

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US violinist and teacher Sally Thomas has died at the age of 92. She was born in Minot, ND, and completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Juilliard School. Among her teachers were Ivan Galamian, Josef Gingold, Edouard Dethier, Louis Persinger, and Hans Letz.

As a performer, she won the National Federation of Music Clubs Northern Lights competition, and performed recitals and as a soloist with orchestras across the US and Canada.

Thomas taught at the Meadowmount School of Music from 1960, and joined the Juilliard faculty in 1961 for the pre-college and college divisions. She worked as an assistant to Galamian for many years, and wrote the introduction to the 2013 edition of his Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching. Thomas also served on the board of directors for the Society for Strings Inc.

In 2013, the Meadowmount School of Music established the Sally G. Thomas Fellowship in recognition of her contribution to the school, to be awarded annually to an outstanding violin student poised for a significant career.

Among Thomas’s students were violinists James Ehnes, Odin Rathnam, Anat Malkin, Ingrid Matthiessen, Stephanie Chase, Robert Canetti, Robert Schumitzky and Todd Phillips. Many have turned to social media to pay tribute to their teacher, including Matthiessen: ‘What do you say when such an influence is no longer on earth?’

‘I feel sorry for all of our losses,’ wrote violinist Steve Huber. ‘Her students felt a bond with her that brought us together like a family, especially during our time together at the Meadowmount School of Music. She was a major part of my work on violin performance, and she was a real hard-ass in the best sense of the word, which inspired us to do our best. Thank you for everything you have given me and my colleagues. You will be missed by many.’

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