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Maureen Forrester

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Title: Maureen Forrester  
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Subject: Linda Kash, Daniel Kash, Irving Guttman, Maureen, Florence Quivar
Collection: 1930 Births, 2010 Deaths, 20Th-Century Canadian Singers, Anglophone Quebec People, Canadian Contraltos, Canadian Female Singers, Canadian Music Hall of Fame Inductees, Canadian Opera Singers, Canadian People of Irish Descent, Canadian People of Scottish Descent, Canadian University and College Chancellors, Canadian Women Academics, Companions of the Order of Canada, Converts to Judaism, Deaths from Dementia, Disease-Related Deaths in Ontario, Fellows of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Governor General's Performing Arts Award Winners, Jewish Canadian Musicians, Members of the Order of Ontario, Neurological Disease Deaths in Canada, Officers of the National Order of Quebec, Operatic Contraltos, People from Montreal, People from Toronto, Women Academic Administrators
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Maureen Forrester

Maureen Forrester
Maureen Kathleen Stewart Forrester photo taken by Carl Van Vechten
Born Maureen Kathleen Stewart Forrester
(1930-07-25)July 25, 1930
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died June 16, 2010(2010-06-16) (aged 79)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Singer
Years active 1953-1983
Spouse(s) Eugene Kash (1957-74; divorced); 5 children

Maureen Kathleen Stewart Forrester, CC OQ (July 25, 1930 – June 16, 2010) was a Canadian operatic contralto.


  • Life and career 1
  • Death 2
  • Honours 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Life and career

Maureen Forrester was born and grew up in Montreal, one of four children of Thomas Forrester, a Scottish cabinetmaker, and his Irish-born wife, the former May Arnold. She sang in church and radio choirs. At age 13, she dropped out of school to help support the family, working as a secretary at Bell Telephone.[1]

When her brother came home from the war he persuaded her to take singing lessons. She paid for voice lessons with Sally Martin, Frank Rowe, and baritone Bernard Diamant. She gave her debut recital at the local YWCA in 1953. She made her concert debut in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Otto Klemperer.

Maureen Forrester, Tel Aviv, 1961

She toured extensively in Canada and Europe with Jeunesses Musicales. She made her New York City debut in Town Hall in 1956. Bruno Walter invited her to sing for him; he was looking for the right contralto for a performance and recording of the Mahler Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection". This was the start of a warm relationship with great rapport. Walter had been a student of Mahler, and he trained Forrester in interpretation of his works. She performed at Walter's farewell performances with the New York Philharmonic in 1957.

In 1957, she married the Toronto violinist and conductor Eugene Kash. The couple had five children, including actors Linda Kash and Daniel Kash. Forrester converted to Judaism.[2]

She performed regularly in concert and opera. At the New York City Opera, she sang Cornelia in Handel's Giulio Cesare (1966), opposite Norman Treigle and Beverly Sills, which was recorded by RCA in 1967. She sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1975 in Das Rheingold, Siegfried, and Un ballo in maschera.[3] Forrester also provided the voice of the Bianca Castafiore character in the television series The Adventures of Tintin. She was a strong champion of Canadian composers, regularly scheduling their works in her programs, especially when she toured abroad. From 1983-88 she served as Chair of the Canada Council.[4]

In 1986, she co-authored her autobiography, Out of Character (ISBN 0-7710-3228-5), with journalist Marci McDonald.[3]


Maureen Forrester died on June 16, 2010, aged 79, in Toronto, after a long battle with dementia. She was predeceased by Eugene Kash, her former husband, whom she had divorced in 1974, and who died in 2004. She was survived by her five children.[3][5]


The star dedicated to Maureen Forrester,
from 2000, on the Canada's Walk of Fame,
in Toronto.

See also


  1. ^ Obituary for Forrester,; accessed June 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Conversion to Judaism,, June 17, 2010; accessed June 22, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Brian Kellow. "Beloved contralto Maureen Forrester dies".  
  4. ^ Profile,; accessed June 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Profile,; accessed August 28, 2015.
  6. ^ The International Who’s Who of Women 2002
  7. ^ Canadian Who's Who 2003,; accessed June 23, 2015.
  8. ^ "Maureen Forrester biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved February 2, 2015. 
  9. ^ Canada's Walk of Fame: Maureen Forrester,; accessed June 23, 2015.

External links

  • - Maureen Forrester (video clip)
  • Discography,
  • Bruce Duffie interview with Maureen Forrester, November 21, 1988
  • IMDb profile
  • IMDb profile
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Black Aird
Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University
Succeeded by
Willard Z. Estey
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