Sunday, January 6, 2019

Eda Kersey

Eda Kersey was an English violinist and teacher born (in Goodmayes, a district of London) on May 15, 1904.  She was a very accomplished musician whose career was mostly spent in England.  She was also one of quite a few female violinists who died young – Maud Powell, Johanna Martzy, Ginette Neveu, Edith Volkaert, Alma Rose, Alma Moodie, and Arma Senkrah are among them.  Several sources speak very highly of her and emphasize that she would have left a great legacy if only she had lived long enough to record the great works of the violin repertoire.  She is also known to have stated that practicing seven hours a day (which she routinely did) should be sufficient for any violinist.  Her musical education began on the piano at age four.  She took up the violin at age six when she actually began studying at the Trinity College of Music in London.  Two years later, she was awarded a certificate from the college with very high marks.  She was eight years old.  After that, she began studying with Edgar Mouncher (a pupil of Otakar Sevcik.)  After only two years, at age ten, she played Wieniawski’s second concerto (first movement only) in Southampton, a city which is 65 miles from London.  That concert (in 1915) was a great success.  At age 13, she moved to London to live with an aunt and uncle in London and began studying with Margaret Holloway, a pupil of Leopold Auer.  Her first London recital took place three years later at the Aeolian Hall when she was sixteen years old.  (New York City also had its own Aeolian Hall.)  Along the way, she premiered the concertos of Arnold Bax, Erno Dohnanyi, and Stanley Wilson, as well as works by other contemporary composers.  She also gave the first English performance of the Barber concerto at a Proms concert in 1943.  Her first Proms concert had been in 1930 playing the Beethoven concerto with the famous Henry Wood conducting.  She was 26 years old.  That performance was the first of several appearances she made at the popular Proms concerts.  In 1931, she formed a piano trio which was simply named The Trio Players.  Her last concert took place in June, 1944, at the Albert Hall in London.  Kersey played a Nicolo Amati, a J.B. Vuillaume, and a Guarnerius del Gesu (which she acquired from Belgian violinist Alfred De Reyghere in 1942), among other violins.  Eda Kersey died on July 13, 1944, at age 40.  Negotiations for many recordings of the standard repertoire had nearly been concluded before her sudden death but she never got to actually record anything other than some small pieces (with piano accompaniment) and the Bax concerto (with orchestral accompaniment) several months earlier.