Taylor Rankin ’99 Inspires Students to Play Outside of the Box


SMUS alumnus Taylor Rankin and his violin Leroy returned to SMUS this week to work with our Senior School strings students on improvisation and to inspire them to push the boundaries of music.

Rankin graduated from SMUS in 1999, and has since worked as a touring musician performing truly unique music that needs to be heard to understand.

“He literally reaches inside his violin, pushing it to new limits – caressing, smashing, coaxing it to sound like a DJ scratching the finest vinyl, an electric guitar, a bass, drum, flute, and especially a soulful rich and delicious violin,” reads his bio – and students enjoyed firsthand watching and hearing him do just that.

Ms. Donna Williams says Taylor was a “one-off from the start”, having first seen his musical talents when he was in Grade 7 playing the titular character in the Senior School production of “Fiddler on the Roof” in 1994. She went on to teach him for his four years at the Senior School and they have since stayed in touch.

“He’s doing some pretty spectacular musical stuff. He’s been home for Christmas and I was really lucky that he had time to come in and give our kids a taste of non-classical music on the violin; to show them some of the weird and wonderful things that can be done,” Donna says. “I want students to see that they can make their own decision as to where music fits in their life, what sort of music they choose to make, that outside-of-the-box is really fun and they can look at their instrument in any way they want.

“My personal goal in the music program is to connect students with music that is going to last them beyond their time at SMUS. People like Taylor show them that creativity just opens the door for musical exploration for a lifetime.”

See more photos from Taylor’s visit on the SMUS Photo Gallery.

And check out a video of Taylor performing for our student on the school’s Instagram page.

Or watch this video below:

(photo by Kyle Slavin)


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