Gwendda Davies

Gwendda (Dorothy Owen) Davies. Pianist, teacher, b Kettleburgh Rectory, Wickham Market, Suffolk, England, 5 Aug 1896, d Winnipeg 4 Jul 1988; LRAM 1912, ARCM 1912.

Davies, Gwendda

Gwendda (Dorothy Owen) Davies. Pianist, teacher, b Kettleburgh Rectory, Wickham Market, Suffolk, England, 5 Aug 1896, d Winnipeg 4 Jul 1988; LRAM 1912, ARCM 1912. At 12 she received the AB of the RSM gold medal for the highest marks in advanced piano in the United Kingdom and at 15 she played Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the Hull Orchestra. At the RAM her teachers were Oscar Beringer (piano) and Stewart MacPherson (theory), and her diploma examiners were Tobias Matthay and Sir Hubert Parry. She subsequently was an assistant to MacPherson. In 1916 she performed concertos by Saint-Saëns and Sterndale Bennett at Queen's Hall with the RAM orchestra under Sir Alexander Mackenzie.

Davies travelled to Canada in 1923 to teach at Rupertsland College, Winnipeg, for one year. Deciding to remain and teach privately, she also became the accompanist for the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir (continuing into the early 1930s), for the Young Women's Musical Club Choir, and for many singers, including May Lawson, Gertrude Newton, and W. Davidson Thomson. In 1930 she studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and Céliny Chailley-Richez. Returning to Winnipeg she played in the 1930s in two-piano teams with Mary Scarlett Wood, Cécile Henderson, and Marjorie Dillabough. She also performed in Bach's Concerto for Four Claviers (with Ronald Gibson, Filmer Hubble, and Herbert Sadler) in 1925 and was the soloist in Beethoven's Concerto No. 4 for the Women's Musical Club in 1930 and with the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra in 1949. In over 50 years of teaching piano and theory in Winnipeg her pupils included Audrey Cooke Belyea, Douglas Bodle, Esther Ghan, Gordon Kushner, Frans Niermeier, Winifred Scott Wood, Winnifred Sim, Gordon Watson, and Kenneth Winters.