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Memorable Manitobans: Donna Grescoe (1927-2012)


Born at Winnipeg in 1927, daughter of George and Christina Grescoe, she began playing the violin at the age of 5 when a door-to-door salesman sold her parents a small violin. She gained renowned as a child prodigy, receiving a scholarship from the American Conservatory of Music at Chicago and performing at the Ukrainian-American Festival at the New York World’s Fair. At the age of 14, an adjudicator at the Manitoba Music Festival described her as a genius.

At the age of 18, Grescoe moved to New York City where she studied under New York Philharmonic concert master Michel Piastro. She later performed in Carnegie Hall and on Ed Sullivan’s television show. After a concert career, including a period in the string section of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, she taught music, supported young musicians, and commissioned 14 classical music compositions. She was a founding member of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music. In 1988, she moved to British Columbia.

She died at Richmond, British Columbia on 17 August 2012.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 August 2012.

“The world on her strings” by Paul Grescoe, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 September 2012, page G8.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 4 February 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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