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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Eileen Joyce

Significant Tasmanian Women icon

(1912-1991)
Classical Pianist

Eileen JoyceEileen Joyce was born in 1912 in Zeehan. She left Zeehan at the age of two for Kununoppin, W.A. Eileen first took piano lessons in about 1921 after moving to Boulder. She then studied piano at the Loretto Convent in Perth. After Eileen played for Percy Grainger and Wilhelm Backhaus they recommended that she study in Europe. With money raised by the local people she was able to go to Germany to study in about 1927 where she studied under Teichmuller at the "Conservertoire".

In 1930 she made her debut playing the Prokofiev concerto with Sir Henry Wood conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra at a Promenade Concert in London. She became one of the BBC’s most regular broadcasting artists, as well as being in demand for concert tours in the provinces. She memorised more than fifty piano concertos and numerous recital programs.

Eileen married in London in 1937 and had a son. Her husband died on active service in North Africa in 1942. During the war she performed regularly with Sir Malcolm Sargent and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, especially in blitzed areas.

She subsequently appeared with all principal UK orchestras as well as those of Berlin, France, Italy and New York. She made tours to Australia in both 1936 and 1948, South Africa in 1950, the Netherlands and Scandinavia in 1951, Finland and South America in 1952, New Zealand and Soviet Russia in 1958 and 1961 respectively, as well as Yugoslavia and India in 1962. Whilst in Tasmania she performed a solo at the gala opening concert of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

She was featured in films: Battle for Music, Girl in a Million, the allegedly biographical "Wherever She Goes" and contributed to soundtracks for Brief Encounter, the Seventh Veil and other films.

She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from Cambridge University in 1971. She lived at Limpsfield in Surrey, England, and continued to take a great interest in young musicians from WA as well as in local musical endeavours.

References:

The late I.W. (Bill) Wood, formerly of Zeehan, researched these biographical notes for the West Coast Heritage Authority Ltd, Newsletter (2) March 1999, West Coast Pioneers Memorial Museum

Links:

An article by Ates Orga

Biography:

Davis, Richard, Eileen Joyce: a portrait, Fremantle, W.A.: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2001


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