Natalie Kuzmich, Professor Emeritus of OISE, University of Toronto, passed away at the age of 90 in her Toronto home surrounded by her family on January 7, 2023.
She was the only child of immigrant Ukrainian parents, and from an early age she developed a strong work ethic, working in her parents’ restaurant. But she also played the violin and developed a passion for music. She graduated from a faculty of music, which followed with an MA in musicology. She became one of Canada’s premier music educators, first working at Lawrence Park Collegiate and winning many local and national accolades for her work with the string program. She moved onto a professorial role at U of T’s faculty of education (OISE), and soon after became a chair related to music education.
Her love of teaching and music blazed the way for not just women conductors and music teachers, but also for innovations in music education, including but not limited to the use of improvisation, composition, and the wealth of world music in the classroom, when music education, whether inside or outside the classroom, was primarily limited to the strict conventions of Western art music.
As her role as music educator developed, so did her love of fine art and good food, which made her an exquisite chef and host, and a most loved family member and friend. Natalie encouraged love, curiosity and critical thought through music, art, good food and drink.