Frank Squire Welsman (20 December 1873 – 2 July 1952) was a Canadian conductor, pianist, composer and music educator. He began his career as a concert pianist, but ultimately earned his place in Canadian history for establishing Toronto's first symphony orchestra of any standing, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (no relation to the current orchestra of that name) which was active from 1906 to 1918. As a composer he wrote a few songs and some instrumental pieces, mostly works for solo piano. His grandson John Welsman is a notable film score composer and his granddaughter Carol Welsman is a successful jazz pianist and singer.
Early life and education
Born in Toronto, Welsman pursued courses in violin and piano performance at the Toronto College of Music before entering the Leipzig Conservatory in 1894. He studied in Leipzig through 1897 where his teachers included Richard Hofmann, Martin Krause, and Gustav Schreck. After completing his education at the conservatory, he studied the piano privately with Arnold Mendelssohn in Germany
In 1890 Welsman returned to Toronto and commenced a career as a concert pianist in major Canadian cities. He also joined the piano faculty at the Toronto College of Music where he taught until 1906 when he left to join the faculty of the Toronto Conservatory of Music (TCM). He remained active as a concert pianist through 1907, after which he focused on his career as a conductor and educator. However, he did continue to play the piano in concerts of chamber music, particularly in concerts presented by the Welsman Studio Club, an organization he founded in 1914 which presented bi-weekly piano concerts performed by students and faculty of the TCM for over a decade.
In 1906 Welsman formed the Toronto Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. Two years later the orchestra was reorganized to become a professional orchestra entitled the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which Welsman conducted up through 1918. In the summers of 1923 and 1924 he worked in Huntsville, Ontario as the conductor for the Anglo-Canadian Leather Company Band.
Welsman left the TCM to join the staff of the Canadian Academy of Music in 1918, but after six years there returned to the staff of the TCM in 1924 where he remained until his retirement in 1951. From 1928–1931 he served as music director of Alma College. Among his notable pupils were Roy Angus, G.D. Atkinson, Margaret Miller Brown, Percy Faith, H.K. Jordan, and Kate Bryce Marquis Nelson. He died in Muskoka, Ontario in 1952 at the age of 78.