Cole was born the in USA to Canadian parents who soon returned to Canada, and she grew up in Toronto. She began violin lessons at three and piano at four, but the family moved frequently, and when they were in Saudi Arabia and unable to find a piano teacher Naida took up the flute.
Naida ColeNaida (Margaret) Cole. Pianist, born at Durham, N. Carolina, 28 Oct 1974, dual citizenship; ARCT (Royal Conservatory of Music [RCM]) 1987, B MUS (Peabody Institute) flute/piano 1995, M MUS (Montréal) 1998.
Cole was born the in USA to Canadian parents who soon returned to Canada, and she grew up in Toronto. She began violin lessons at three and piano at four, but the family moved frequently, and when they were in Saudi Arabia and unable to find a piano teacher Naida took up the flute. She later attended Chetham's School of Music (UK) and decided to pursue a musical career. Back in Canada, she studied with Marina Geringas at the RCM completing her ARCT with first-class honours at the age of 13 - the second youngest student to do so (the youngest was Glenn Gould). Following a year of study at the Université de Montréal with Marc Durand, Cole went on to earn a B MUS with a double major from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University with Leon Fleisher (piano), and Emily Controulis and Robert Willoughby (flute). She also studied in Cadenabbia, Italy at the Fondationae Internazionale per il Piano, with Fleisher (a mentor and major influence), Karl Ulrich Schnabel, Charles Rosen, Fiu T'song and Dmitiri Bashirikov, and then returned to Montréal to complete an M MUS with Durand.
Awards and Achievements
While still a student in Montreal, Cole distinguished herself in several competitions including first place in the MSO Concours (1989), and 3rd prize in the Montreal International Music Competition (1992). She was the only competitor ever to have won the Kiwanis President's Trophy twice on two different instruments. At the 1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition she earned the prestigious Phyllis Jones Tilley Memorial Award for best performance of a commissioned work, and was one of three winners of the Stephen de Groote Memorial Award for best performance of chamber music.
Naida Cole has performed extensively in recitals and as a soloist in Canada and abroad including with the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver Symphonies, the Munich Philharmonic, the London (UK) Sinfonietta and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Among chamber music festival performances were Ravinia and Spoleto (USA), Lockenhaus (Austria), Ottawa and Lanaudière. A frequent duo partner was violinist Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica ensemble with whom she made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 and appeared on the Grammy Award winning CD After Mozart. Cole's solo recordings received acclaim and a Juno nomination. Other musical collaborators have included pianist David Jalbert and violinist Cho-Liang Lin. Cole made her Wigmore Hall debut as a recitalist in 2001, and her career continued to take flight. She moved to New York City in 2002.
Despite these achievements, and although she continued to perform over the next years, Cole felt that something was missing and she decided to shift her focus from music to medicine. In 2007, she began medical studies at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She gives concerts when time permits, and in May 2011 she played at the Granoff Centre for the Creative Arts in Providence, Rhode Island as a fundraiser for the school.
Naida Cole, piano. Works by Ravel, Satie, Fauré, Chabrier. Decca 748-021-2 (2001)
After Mozart with Violinist Gideon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica. Nonesuch (2001)
Reflections - piano works by Ravel, Bartok, Liszt. Decca 472-464-2 (2003)
Littler, William. "Homecoming from the New York Jungle" Toronto Star, 26 Sep 2004
Teraud, John. "Naida Cole's new key in life," Toronto Star, 4 Aug 2007
Rowley Lisa and Adam Mastoon. Zoom in Brown Medicine Alumni Magazine, Fall 2008