Yvonne DeRoller grew up in Irondequoit, a suburb of Rochester, NY. She was fortunate to have had an amazing public school music teacher, Nancy Grammar, who started her on violin and viola in fourth grade and paid for her lessons at Eastman School of Music. The school music program was mandatory, and the high school orchestra competed in Albany every year at the top level. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Music with a concentration in Music Education and English at SUNY Fredonia, and a Master’s degree in Viola Performance at New England Conservatory in Boston. Her teachers were Charles Joseph and Burton Fine.
Yvonne came to Nova Scotia in 1978 to join the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, after spending the summer as a Tanglewood fellow. When the ASO went bankrupt, she played in the SMTS Orchestra and founded the first Suzuki School in Halifax in 1982. She is grateful to have won her audition again when Symphony Nova Scotia added section players. The 2023/24 season marks a total of 46 years in the viola section.
An avid proponent of music education, Yvonne has taught private violin and viola for over 40 years. She has also been the viola coach for the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra (NSYO) since the 1980s, and she was the Managing Director of the NSYO for ten years, as well as NSYO Board president for two years.
She recently has served five years as Chair of the Symphony Nova Scotia Players’ Association, and as a member of the Finance Committee for the Symphony Nova Scotia Board of Directors; she also served on the Music Director Search Committee and the Respectful Workplace Committee.
Yvonne has attended the Leonard Shure Chamber Festival in Nantucket, and is a former member of Rhapsody, The Octet, and Tempest Baroque Ensemble. Yvonne spent five summers in the Charlottetown Festival orchestra playing violin.
Since 2019, she trained and has been working as a professional and support volunteer at Hospice Halifax, and in 2023, having undertaken new training, is now a NavCare Volunteer. This new program provides regular one-on-one assistance to seniors who have medical and other issues but wish to remain in their homes.
She enjoys summers working in her garden and travelling, and she has fallen in love with the French language, taking nonstop courses since July 2019 at Alliance Française Halifax. Her two wheaten terriers are terribly spoiled.
Yvonne is the proud single mum of violinist, writer, and comedian Lauren DeRoller, who lives in Montreal with her enormous cat, George Michael.