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Jean Coulthard Adams

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJean•Coulthard Adams
Used nameJean•Coulthard Adams
Born10 February 1908 in Vancouver, British Columbia (CAN)
Died9 March 2000 in North Vancouver, British Columbia (CAN)
NOC Canada


Jean Coulthard Adams’ mother was the singer and music teacher Jean Blake Coulthard. Jean started composing at only 8-years-old. From 1924-28, she studied piano and theory in Vancouver, where she later taught for 26 years. Subsequently, she attended the Royal College of Music in London on a scholarship. Back in Vancouver, she gave private lessons for some years and married in 1935. During this period, she wrote music especially for voice and piano. She continued her studies in composition and started to compose for orchestra. Her Symphony No. 1 dated from 1951. In 1955-56 she lived in France and started to compose an opera (The Return of the Native, completed in 1979 and first performed in September, 1993), and a violin concerto. In 1978 the well-known West Coast musician was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1984 named Composer of the Year. Many of her more than 350 works are romantic and impressionistic, comprising every genre. In her later years she wrote especially complex compositions, some of them commissioned and performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She completed her last work just months before she died aged 92. Her papers are deposited at the Archives of the University of British Columbia. Jean Coulhard’s daughter, Jane Adams became a painter and graphic artist. Both worked together in creating the eight volumes of Music of Our Time.

Coulthard Adams’ entry in the 1948 Olympic art competitions (category instrumental and chamber music) was her Sonata for Oboe and Piano. The 11-minute long sonata was composed in 1947 and revised in 1972. The movements are I. Gently Flowing; II. Sicilienne. Quite Slowly; III. Allegro. It was released on CD (“Canadian Works for Oboe & Piano”) in 2017 by the Canadian Music Centre. In the 1952 exhibition, she presented Night Wind, a “cycle of four songs after poems by Douglas Le Pan”, composed in 1951.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Art Competitions CAN Jean Coulthard Adams
Music, Instrumental And Chamber, Open (Olympic) HM