• 236 - 6th Avenue SE
Kathleen Parlow was born in Calgary in 1890, but left for San Francisco soon after her father’s death when she was four.
Her mother was an accomplished violinist, and at an early age Kathleen indicated a strong desire to ""play just like mother does."" Her mother bought her a small violin on which Kathleen began to play. Parlow gave her first recital at the age of six and an agent at the performance suggested that Parlow move to Europe for advanced study and the further development of her gift. After Lord Strathcona wrote Parlow a cheque for her future endeavors, she became one of the first North Americans to enroll at the Imperial Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. She studied under the great violin master Leopold Auer.
At the age of 17 Parlow made her formal debut in Berlin. She travelled and performed continuously throughout Europe, Asia and North America. She returned to Calgary in 1910 on her first North American tour, and the city gave her a welcome normally reserved for royalty, some declaring that ""she is today one of the phenomena of the musical world."" In 1911, she participated in the launch of Calgary’s first symphony orchestra, which then consisted of a 17-piece string ensemble.
Parlow was a frequent visitor to Calgary until she was forced to retire from her touring circuit due to a nervous collapse in 1927. She returned to Canada at the beginning of the Second World War where she organized several musical groups. In 1956 received the University of Alberta’s national Award in Music. She performed her final concert in London, Ontario, at the age of 71, and died two years later.