Committed to Opera

Marilyn Stroh, Viola

Marilyn Stroh, violist, a native of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada began her career with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in September 1960 when the opera house was still situated at 39th Street. Marilyn began her string studies (on the violin) at the age of nine. She joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony at the age of ten where her father played Principal Flute. She won Kiwanis Festival scholarships in Ontario as a teenager. While living in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania during the 1950s, Marilyn continued her violin studies with Jacob Krachmalnick, the then Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1956 she started at the Juilliard School of Music to study violin with Oscar Shumsky. During her time at Julliard she also took up viola studies with Mr. Shumsky and, in 1960, Marilyn became the first student to graduate from Julliard having majored in two instruments. She performed as Principal Violist of the Juilliard Orchestra on its European tour in 1958 which tour was highlighted by the World’s Fair in Brussels. She has also performed with the Canadian National Ballet as Principal Violist while she was still in school. After starting with the Met, Marilyn performed with the National Festival Orchestra in Stratford, Ontario, Canada in the summertime. She played violin in the pit there and also served as Solo Violist in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring. During Marilyn’s six seasons at the Stratford Festival, she performed chamber music in collaboration with artists such as Glenn Gould, Leonard Rose, Oscar Shumsky, Lynn Harrell, Jean-Pierre Rampal, and Lee Foli. Marilyn was a member of the String Trio of New York in the 1970s with her Met colleagues Judith Yanchus and Yves Chardon. The trio received acclaim for its “beauty, warmth, and style”. In 1960, apart from the harpist, Marilyn became the first woman to be engaged full time by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and she has remained a devoted member of the orchestra ever since. Over the years, Marilyn has enjoyed volunteering her services on both the violin and viola to play for weddings and funerals for her large extended family and circle of friends. She is also very fond of playing string quartets “just for fun” when the opportunities arise.