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Double Bassist Ruth June Budd has Died, Aged 97

She was the first professional female bassist to play with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra 


She played in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) for most of her career — from 1947 to 1952 and from 1964 to 1989. She also performed with the Canadian Opera Company, National Ballet of Canada, and Stratford Festival Orchestra. 

With an interest in labor relations, she was the founding chair of the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians. Later in retirement, she founded the Toronto Senior Strings and the Christie Gardens Chorale, and was a member of the Toronto Mandolin Orchestra.

In 1951, she was part of the "Symphony Six" which were a group of TSO musicians who were barred from entering the U.S. for life during the Cold War due to political reasons. At the time, TSO had to substitute them for their tour.

When the Cold War subsided, the TSO re-hired Ruth in 1964, where she continued performing with them until her retirement in 1989. The U.S. entry restriction was rescinded in the 1970s.

Ms. Budd is survived by her son, two grandsons, one great-grandson, and extended family.

Our condolences to Ms. Budd’s family, friends, and colleagues. 

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