Olga Priestman

(1930 - 2016)

The National Ballet of Canada mourns the death of Olga Priestman, Charter Member of the National Ballet Orchestra and Violinist for more than 50 years.

Olga Priestman studied violin at the Royal Conservatory of Music and later at the University of Toronto. Although classically trained, Olga played with dance bands, most notably the Trump Davidson Dixieland Band at the Palace Pier and Moxie Whitney's Orchestra at the Royal York Hotel - the first time these bands hired women. She was also one of four violinists known as the Enchanted Strings, a Toronto nightclub act. Olga played on "Country Hoedown", a weekly CBC television show which broadcast live for four years. At Maple Leaf Gardens she played for the Russian Circus and the Ice Capades. During the 1950s and 60s she played numerous musicals at the Royal Alexandra Theatre before joining the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.

In 1951 Olga became a Charter Member of The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra where she performed for more than 50 years touring Canada, the US, Mexico and Europe until her retirement in 2004.