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Leonard Borwick

(b. Walthamstow, Feb. 26, 1868; d. Le Mans, France, Sept. 15, 1925), a distinguished pianist, studied under Mme. Schumann at Frankfort, 1883-89.

He 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 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 Harry Plunket Greene in London and the provinces, in which he played a very large repertory of music from Bach to Brahms. 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. (H.C.Colles)

From the 4th edition of Grove, 1940.

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