Teacher and Chamber Musician
She performed with the One Third Ninth trio (of which she was a founding member 1970) until it disbanded in 1981; all three were Alberta artists in residence for a time. She was a professor at the University of Calgary 1969-75, and at the Mount Royal College Conservatory beginning in 1973, and taught on a part-time basis until 1990. In conjunction with her solo career, she founded the Chinook Piano Competition, which began on a provincial level in 1982 and progressed to a national event by 1985. In 1988, she formed the Chinook Trio with flutist Susan Hoeppner and cellist Ofra Harnoy (later, with Amanda Forsyth) and succeeded Stephanie Sebastian as pianist in the Canadian Piano Trio, an ensemble-in-residence at York University. She founded a number of other chamber music ensembles including the Chinook Duo and the Chinook Ensemble, and as of 2003 performed with Trilogy and the Quartet Saint Cecilia. She was artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Calgary, and hosted 'Musical Portraits,' an award-winning Calgary television program. Saarinen was founding artistic director for the Esther Honens International Piano Competition in 1992. She taught for many musical organizations including Dixon Hall Music School, the Midsummer Music Society, and the Okanagan International Festival for the Arts. She taught piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto 1986-91 and again from 2003, and maintained a private studio in Toronto. She commissioned works by Murray Adaskin, Violet Archer, Malcolm Forsyth, Allan Rae, and others, and performed works by Oscar Peterson, Srul Irving Glick, Chan Ka Nin, Archer, Harry Somers, and others.
She recorded the complete Schubert duets with Arnold Draper (Doremi DDR71125, 71126), as well as making recordings with the Canadian Trio, and solo recordings on the Doremi and Avalon labels. She accompanied saxophonist Daniel Rubinoff on a CD, The Old Castle, in 1998 (Carnival Records CCR 030); and with Rubinoff she recorded Glick's Suite Hebraique No. 4 (Carnival CCR-032).
Saarinen received the following awards: Alberta Government Award for Cultural Contribution, Winter Olympics, 1988; Rotary International Paul Harris Award, 1997; and a Special Teacher's Award, Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association, 2001.
Author Susan Spier
Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor, Opus 34. Orford Str Quar. (1984). Sefel SEFD-5019
Chausson Trio in G minor - Smetana Trio in G minor. Canadian Piano Trio. (1990). EBS 6014 (CD)
Gloria Saarinen Plays Popular Piano Pieces: Chopin - Schumann - et al. (1984). Sefel SEFD-5029
Piano Recital:Bach-Busoni - Scarlatti - Brahms. (1985). Sefel SEFD-5016
See also Discography for James Campbell.
Dawson, Eric. 'Profile: challenge has been stuff of stardom for pianist Gloria Saarinen,' Calgary Herald, 3 Mar 1980
Colgrass, Ulla. 'Gloria Saarinen makes music happen in Calgary,'. Music vol 8, Mar/Apr 1985.