FORSYTH, Malcolm Denis
December 8, 1936 July 5, 2011
The family and friends of Dr. Malcolm Denis
Forsyth sadly announce his passing on July 5,
2011 after an heroic battle with cancer.
Dr. Forsyth was formidable in many regards.
As a trombonist, he had all the brashness of a
brass player. He was a stickler for getting
things right and would settle for nothing less
than a class one performance. As a composer,
he pushed all the instruments of the
orchestra to their limits. He was unique in
blending rhythms of his homeland, South
Africa, with the more conventional rhythms of
classical music. As a teacher, he would accept
no second class work. His students could slip
nothing past him. Many students described
him as the most influential on their musical
career. As a friend, he was often a challenge,
never letting go a casual statement that was
ill-thought out. He loved to debate and loved
to win. He loved a crowd, and he loved the
stage, and when he walked into a room, the
room became full. He loved to tell stories and
make people laugh.
Malcolm loved the people in his life, above all,
his daughter, Amanda, his wife Valerie, and
his poodle, Keats. He wrote several works for
Amanda, an internationally acclaimed cellist,
and they often appeared on stage together.
Apart from his music, Malcolms list of
interests was endless: poetry, history,
religion, politics, woodworking, water colours,
languages, and travel. He was a voracious
reader - in his areas of knowledge, he was
He was a Professor of Music at the University
of Alberta for 34 years and was Composer-In-
Residence at the time of his retirement in
2002. Among his many awards were three
Junos for his compositions, Canadian
Composer of the Year in 1989 and was
awarded the Order of Canada in 2003.
Malcolm was diagnosed with cancer last
September and underwent several
chemotherapy treatments. Although severely
weakened, he was able to attend the premiere
of his latest work, A Ballad of Canada, at the
National Art Centre in Ottawa in early June.
Malcolm leaves to mourn his wife, Valerie, his
daughter Amanda, son-in-law Pinchas
Zukerman; his brother Donald and sister-in-
law Rhona in South Africa and their children.
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Published in Edmonton Journal on Jul. 8, 2011.