Ian was born August 26, 1942, in Toledo, Washington, to Gordon and Bessie Edlund. Growing up in Hoquiam, he played cello and bassoon, as well as bass in a dance band, “The Dew Drops.”
Ian graduated from Hoquiam High School in 1960. He earned a BA (1965) and MA (1968) in music from Washington State University. While at WSU, he played with the Spokane Symphony. During his junior year of university, he taught choir in Colton, Washington. Asked to form a band, he needed students from the Catholic high school. He was the first in the state to start a program with private/public school cooperation.
Ian moved to Lacey, Washington, in 1965 to be the sole orchestra teacher in North Thurston School District with just five high school students. He married Marjorie Owes of Spokane in 1966. He retired from NTSD in 1995.
In 1970, Ian took over the Symphonic Strings, which he turned into a full orchestra renamed the Olympia Symphony Orchestra. He conducted and led this organization for 27 years and developed it into one of the most respected community orchestras in the Northwest. In 1997, Ian's work with the Olympia Symphony and his leadership in the South Sound arts scene was recognized by Washington Governor Gary Locke in 1997. Masterworks named him their Person of the Year.
In 1976, Ian formed his company, String Instrument Specialists, starting with repairs and expanding to importing and sales. He worked with teachers and students throughout the U.S. From 1990 to 2012, Ian directed the W-ASTA Birch Bay String Workshop, a comprehensive week of activities for string teachers and the largest of its type in the country.
As a composer, Ian published over 70 orchestral pieces developed from his many years of personalized work with school programs. Each selection addresses specific teaching points, fills a niche in program requirements, attends to the needs of school musicians and is carefully edited for student understanding. Ian's publications may be purchased though any sheet music dealer.
Ian served as secretary-treasurer and president of the Washington String Teachers' Association and president of Southwest Washington Music Educators. He was both organizing chairman and local chairman of Washington All-State Orchestras, and was a busy adjudicator, clinician, performer, and guest conductor throughout the Northwest and Canada. The American String Teachers Association honored Ian with the coveted Elizabeth Green School Educator Award in 1995, and ASTA's state chapter honored Ian with their award for Outstanding Contributions to String Education in 2020.
Ian enjoyed golfing, hiking and backpacking with friends and family. He loved working on cars and designed and built two houses. Ian and Marj traveled extensively throughout their life together. Their most cherished trips and celebrations have been with family. Ian took camping trips with his grandchildren and continued playing cello in groups until his illness.
In the fall of 2019, Ian was diagnosed with chronic myeloid monocytic leukemia. He spent six months in Seattle for treatment, until he died of pneumonia on February 29, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Marj; daughter, Karin, and her husband, Karim Taifour; daughter, Kristin, and her husband, Ken Rosenow; and three grandsons, Gordon Taifour, Zak Taifour, and Hugh Rosenow. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Eric Edlund.
The family looks forward to holding a memorial service in the future.