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Leonard Borwick (1868-1925)

Born February. 26, 1868 - Walthamstow, England
Died: September 15, 1925 - Le Mans, France

photo right from 1914

The distinguished English pianist, Leonard Borwick, studied under Mme. Schumann at Frankfort, from 1883 to 1889.

Leonard Borwick made his début at Frankfort in 1889, playing Beethoven's Concerto in E flat, and in the following year appeared first in England, playing Schumann's concerto at the Philharmonic Society's concert (London) on May 8. His success was emphatic, and he was soon accepted as an able performer of the classics, and particularly as an exponent of the interpretative methods of the Schumann school. His performance of Johannes Brahms's D minor concerto with Richter in Vienna (1891) helped to establish his reputation abroad, and at home he was in request for the 'Popular' concerts of St. James's Hall, for chamber concerts in association with the Joachim quartet, and indeed wherever in England the ideal of the classics was paramount. For some years he gave numerous recitals with Plunket Greene in London and the provinces, in which he played a very large repertory of music from J.S. Bach to J. Brahms.

Leonard Borwick was first and foremost a refined and scholarly player of these composers; but he did not stand still. He played in Germany and in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, notably in Scandinavia. In 1911 he undertook a considerable concert tour in America and Australia, and returned to London in 1912, playing with a freedom and vigour which gave to his art a new force. From this time onward, too, his growing interest in the modern French school of piano music widened his powers of expression, and his playing of Debussy and Ravel was specially admired.

from: 4th edition of Grove, 1940; Author: H.C.Colles


In 1913 he listed his interests as poetry, painting, Italy, tennis, cycling, gymnastics and conjuring. He was good at chess and billiards, and was a regular visitor to Lords' cricket ground. He was also a vegetarian, and an idealist in various other matters who always stuck to his principles.


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