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Eileen Joyce

Zeehan, about the time Eileen Joyce was born there (AOT, PH30/1/4600)

Eileen Alannah Joyce (1908–91), pianist. Born at Zeehan, Joyce moved in early childhood to Boulder City, Western Australia. Showing exceptional gifts at the piano, she played for Wilhelm Backhaus who facilitated a move to Leipzig where she studied with Max Pauer and Robert Teichmuller. After further lessons in London and classes with Artur Schnabel, she made her debut there (1930) under Sir Henry Wood, playing Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto.

Joyce became famous for her elaborate concert dress, matching gowns to music she played, and was widely popular through her sound recordings. Important recorded performances of Mozart, Shostakovitch, Ireland, Bliss and others provide access to her interpretations of standard and less familiar works. The first patron of the Sydney International Piano Competition, she also appeared in and played soundtracks for several films, including Brief encounter.

Further reading: R Davis, Eileen Joyce, Perth, 2001.

Jeff Brownrigg