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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » B » Bowen, York



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York Bowen (2/22/1884 - 11/23/1961)

Described by Saint-Saëns as ‘the most remarkable of the young British composers’, York Bowen was widely known as a pianist and as a composer, his fame reaching its zenith in the years immediately preceding the First World War. The youngest of three sons, he was born on 22 February 1884 at Crouch Hill, London. His mother, an accomplished musician, taught him piano and harmony and by the age of eight he was studying at the Blackheath Conservatoire. In 1898 he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, studying piano with Tobias Matthay and composition with Frederick Corder until 1905. A gifted student, he won many prizes for piano and composition, including the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Medal. Bowen was appointed Professor at the RAM in 1909, a post he held for the next fifty years. With regular performances at the Queen’s Hall and later at the Royal Albert Hall, his piano playing received critical acclaim for its technical and artistic excellence. In addition to his successful career as a solo (virtuoso) pianist, he formed celebrated duos with the great viola player Lionel Tertis and the pianist Harry Isaacs. Active as a musician to the last, Bowen died suddenly at his home in Hampstead at the age of 77 on 23 November 1961.

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