Published Jul 18, 2008Toronto violinist and composer Oliver Schroer passed away on July 3, 2008 after a difficult 16-month struggle with leukemia.
A prolific and gifted performer, Schroer was also a generous collaborator and teacher who spent as much time as possible inspiring and guiding young students from Canada and beyond. After battling leukemia for over a year, with multiple rounds of chemotherapy and treatments, Schroer was eventually informed that nothing could save him. The news only prompted him to work harder on his craft, polishing unfinished musical projects, writing new material whenever possible, jamming with others in his hospital room and playing one final show at Trinity St. Paul's Church in Toronto on June 5, a gorgeous and touching spectacle for the ages.
In one of his final interviews, Schroer told Exclaim! his prognosis gave both himself and others pause for thought. "If there's one thing I hope people take away from this whole thing it's don't procrastinate: do it now," Schroer said. "I've gotten a lot of communication from people more cognisant of this, partially because of my situation. That means this illness isn't just a personal thing for me to suffer through but actually a gift for hundreds of people to make something out of, [and that] makes me very happy."
Schroer died peacefully at 11:30 a.m. on July 3 at Princess Margaret Hospital. According to his official site, he wrote a final tune, entitled "Poise," the previous evening, and his final words to hospital staff were apparently, "Well, I guess no excursions today."
Oliver Schroer was 52 years old and is survived by his wife Elena, mother Irene, sister Martina, and brothers Andreas and Ansgar.