Celebrating a Legacy: Thomas Wermuth Retirement

After an illustrious 32 year career, Thomas Wermuth will retire from the faculty at the Western Springs School of Talent Education. He will be moving with his life partner, Nick Ginandes, to Golden, Colorado where they will enjoy spending time with his daughter, Allegra Wermuth and granddaughter, Satya. Mr. Wermuth will continue to teach the violin and offer teacher training for the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

The Western Springs School of Talent Education began in 1980 when founder Edward Kreitman started teaching in the West suburbs of Chicago. Nine years later, Thomas Wermuth left his position as the principal violist of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and faculty member at the Guelph Suzuki School to join the faculty at WSSTE as the artist in residence faculty member.

For several summers in the 1990s, Mr. Wermuth was a member of the violin faculty at the Weathersfield Music Festival in Weathersfield, Vermont where he taught alongside world renowned string pedagogues Almita and Roland Vamos.

In 2002, Mr. Wermuth, along with his daughter Allegra, created the Preludio Music Festival in Ithaca, New York. This summer music program was designed by Tom and Allegra as a three week intense camp where students had the opportunity to work on Concerto repertoire, technique, Paganini Caprices and works by Fritz Kreisler.

Throughout his time at WSSTE, Mr. Wermuth’s students have won numerous competitions in the Chicago area and beyond including the Walgreens, Confucius DuPage Symphony, West Suburban Symphony, Chinese Fine Arts Society, Society of American Musicians and the concerto competitions of the West Suburban Symphony,

Elmhurst Symphony, DuPage Symphony, Skokie Symphony, and South Suburban Symphony. As prize winners, they have performed with these orchestras. Mr. Wermuth’s students also regularly appear on the Skokie Library Young Artists Recital Series.

Mr. Wermuth’s students have gone on to study at the country’s leading conservatories including the The Curtiss Institute of Music, The Colburn School, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, New England Conservatory, Indiana University School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, University of Michigan School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the University of Southern California.

In 1990 Mr. Wermuth was named as a Registered Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas. As such, he has specialized in offering the upper level Suzuki books and is especially well known for teaching the Mozart Violin Concerto Course.

In addition to his private teaching, Mr. Wermuth also was the Musical Director for the Chicago Consort. The Chicago Consort is one of America’s premier student performance ensembles.

The Chicago Consort has appeared on the International Ensembles Concert at the Biennial Conference of the Suzuki Association of the Americas 6 times. More than any other ensemble in the country.

The Chicago Consort has toured Internationally approximately every two years:

Atlanta/Puerto Rico




Great Britain/Vienna








In 2007 Mr. Wermuth was awarded the U.S. Department of Education Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Award by Presidential Scholar Benjamin Beilman.

Mr. Wermuth received the 2011 Studio Teacher of the Year Award from the Illinois Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.

Thomas Wermuth began his musical studies in Louisville, KY where he was a student of Ruth French. (a former student of Ivan Galamian). He performed at the Aspen Music Festival the summer after graduation from High School, and continued his musical training with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School in New York City.

During his time at Juilliard, he performed in the Spoleto Festival in Italy twice and toured with the Canadian Opera Company before joining the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.

Mr. Wermuth is also a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. His unique approach and energetic perspective has made Mr. Wermuth a much more compassionate and understanding teacher, and a mentor to many students particularly throughout their challenging teenage years.

After the passing of his parents, Mr. Wermuth established the Lawrence and Betty Wermuth Memorial Scholarship. Each year, the violin faculty from the school chooses a student to receive this honor. It includes a small honorarium to be used at a summer music festival.

Mr. Wermuth will be succeeded at the school by his protege, Patrick Connolly. Patrick Connolly started his music studies at age three with his mother, Denise Connolly. Patrick joined the studio of Edward Kreitman at age five and continued to study at WSSTE performing in both Allegro!!! and the Chicago Consort. Mr. Connolly was a student of Thomas Wermuth for six years. After graduation from WSSTE, he studied with Brian Lewis at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a Bachelor of Music and completed his masters in violin performance with Almita Vamos at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

We are so grateful for all that Mr. Wermuth has brought to our school. His talent, his humor, his enthusiasm for learning and his standard of excellence have helped to make WSSTE what it is today. We wish him only the best as he moves on to the next chapter.

Photo Memories

We are creating a photo collection of pictures from his 32 years at the school. If you have pictures you would like to contribute, please upload them here:

Upload your Photos or Email your Photos

View the Gallery

Retirement Celebration

An informal celebratory concert will take place at an outdoor venue some time this spring. Please provide us with your best contact email for an invitation once details are finalized. We would love all former Chicago Consort members to join us for this fun afternoon of making music and sharing stories with Mr. Wermuth.

Stay in the loop: Celebration Mailing List

Retirement Fund

If you would like to make a gift of gratitude to Mr. Wermuth’s retirement fund, you may do so by sending a check to:

Wermuth Retirement Fund


1106 Chestnut St.

Western Springs, IL 60558

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1106 Chestnut Street, Western Springs, IL 60558



​1313 N. Mill Street, Naperville, IL 60563


Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students

West Suburban Suzuki Foundation, Inc. and WSSTE, Inc. admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.  We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and other school-administered programs. 


We strive to function as an anti-racist organization, both as a community of people and as an institution, through our practices inside and outside of the classroom.