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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Bourne, Una Mabel

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Una Mabel Bourne (1882 - 1974)


Bourne was already a child prodigy by the age of four, at which point her family moved to Melbourne where she received lessons from Benno Scherek. By the age of ten she was playing concertos with orchestra. She then began touring, but in 1905 she went to Europe to study, making her London debut in October of the following year. ‘Miss Bourne has a beautiful touch, especially for the softer and mezzoforte passages, and plays with a great deal of ease and fluency; her runs and shakes and rapid scale passages in such things as the ‘Appassionata’ Sonata or the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue come off very well, and, though her broad, sustained tone is not quite so good and her rhythm at times is a little uncertain, yet she plays without any affectation or exaggeration, and quite gives the impression of being a musician.’ (The Times)

Before World War I Bourne toured with fellow Australian Dame Nellie Melba. They gave joint concerts, within which Bourne would also perform solo piano works. During the war Bourne gave many recitals in London for charity and the war effort, but thereafter her career was mainly in America and Australia. She gave further charity concerts in Australia during World War II and remained there after 1939. She established a school of piano playing at the Albert Street Conservatorium in Melbourne and spent the rest of her career teaching, as well as occasionally giving concerts and broadcasting.

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