Obituary: Seattle Symphony violinist Maybeth Pressley, 90

Posted on: March 16, 2010

In Saturday’s (3/13) Seattle Times, Melinda Bargreen writes, “Maybeth Pressley believed in harmony—in a big way. A longtime Seattle Symphony Orchestra violinist and matriarch of a remarkable dynasty of professional musicians, Mrs. Pressley left a significant musical legacy upon her death March 5 at age 90 from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Born into a musical family in Pagosa Springs, Colo., in 1919, Mrs. Pressley began violin studies at age 12 and also became an accomplished pianist. She moved to Seattle in 1928 with her parents and her cellist sister Ruth, later graduating from Roosevelt High School and from the University of Washington. Shortly thereafter, at 22, she won a spot in the Seattle Symphony’s first violin section, where she remained for 43 years—playing under the legendary maestro Sir Thomas Beecham, among many other conductors. … She married John Pressley, a tenor soloist, and the couple often sang and performed together. They had three children, and all became professional musicians: Margaret (violinist and founding director of the Seattle Conservatory of Music); Rick (Seattle Symphony trumpeter); and Pamela (flutist and former Seattle Symphony member). During the past 69 years, nine members of the extended family were in the symphony.”

Posted March 16, 2010