Myra Hess

Biography

Born: February 25, 1890; London, England   Died: November 25, 1965; London, England  
Dame Myra Hess was one of the best-known and most beloved of British pianists. She was a pupil of Julian Pascal and Orlando Morgan. At 12 she earned a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music and became a pupil of Tobias Matthay, whom she viewed as her primary teacher.

She debuted at the age of 17 in Beethoven's Fourth Concerto, with Thomas Beecham conducting. In a departure for pianists of her era she took a special interest in
Read more chamber music, including participating in a piano duo with her cousin Irene Scharrer. She toured Europe and the United States.

She was a warm person and well liked, particularly in English-speaking countries, and visited America frequently. Her reputation was particularly enhanced by her innovative and deeply appreciated venture during World War II, the National Gallery Concerts. Wartime blackouts closed the concert halls of London. In the meantime, the National Gallery in London had been emptied of its art treasures, which were sent to parts of the country less vulnerable to German bombing. It was Hess's idea to open the Gallery to the public for concerts every day during the lunch hours.

Londoners flocked to these informal concerts. Hess arranged concerts from solo recitals to full-scale orchestral and choral music. She personally appeared more than any other artist (never asking for a fee), and got some of the finest musicians of the country to appear there. She received her knighthood as a Dame of the British Empire for this service in 1942. The effort was seen as a major boost to morale, and it is said that when the artworks were returned to the Gallery in 1946, ending the musical series, that there was considerable disappointment.

In common with many artists she adopted a wide-ranging repertory, including much music of her time, when she was younger, but focused increasingly on the great classic masters in later years. Her playing was noted for both warmth and thoughtfulness. She made numerous transcriptions, of which one in particular, Bach's chorale prelude Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring from Cantata 147, has become an international favorite. Read less
Browse 1-15 of 15 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Live Recordings From The University Of Illinois, 1949
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 7306 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  John Kuypers,  Victor Kolar
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  • 2.
    Myra Hess: Mostly Schubert
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2098 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Myra Hess
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  • 3.
    Time Traveller - Wartime Britain
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 79012 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Cecil Armstrong Gibbs,  Richard Addinsell,  Walter Kent  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Adni,  Vera Lynn,  Noel Coward,  Al Bowlly  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir William Walton,  Vivian Dunn,  Kenneth Alwyn,  Tony Osborne  ... 
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  • 4.
    Beethoven, Bach, Scarlatti: Piano Works / Myra Hess
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 63787 Release Date: 02/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Myra Hess
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  • 5.
    Brahms: Violin Concerto, Piano Trio No 2 / Joseph Szigeti
    Label: Cbs Masterworks Portrait   Catalog: 52535 Release Date: 10/22/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Joseph Szigeti,  Myra Hess,  Pablo Casals
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Schumann, Brahms / Myra Hess
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 5646 Release Date: 05/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Griller String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Bach, Haydn, Schumann / Hess
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4201 Release Date: 01/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Myra Hess
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  • 8.
    Schumann, Beethoven, Bach: Piano Concertos / Hess
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4178 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Masters Of The Piano Roll - The Great Female Pianists Vol 1
    Label: Dal Segno   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 01/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wanda Landowska,  Myra Hess
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  • 10.
    Haydn, Beethoven, Weber / Emanuel Feuerman, Et Al
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2008 Release Date: 08/30/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Franz Schubert,  George Frideric Handel,  David Popper  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Moore,  Emanuel Feuermann,  Hulda Lashanska,  Mischa Elman  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Grand Piano - Brahms / Backhaus, Bauer, Fischer, Hess, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 8806 Release Date: 06/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Harold Bauer,  Myra Hess,  Wilhelm Backhaus  ... 
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  • 12.
    Grand Piano - Bach / Bauer, Friedman, Grainger, Hess, Samuel
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 8808 Release Date: 11/05/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Harold Samuel,  Ignaz Friedman,  Percy Aldridge Grainger,  Harold Bauer  ... 
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  • 13.
    Grand Piano - Debussy / D'albert, Copeland, Grainger, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 8807 Release Date: 07/06/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Eugčne d' Albert,  Artur Rubinstein,  Myra Hess,  George Copeland  ... 
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  • 14.
    Casals Edition - Brahms, Mendelssohn: Piano Trios / Hess
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 66571 Release Date: 02/21/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Pablo Casals,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Alexander Schneider,  Myra Hess  ... 
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  • 15.
    Mozart: Piano Concertos 14 & 20 / Myra Hess, Bruno Walter
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 275 Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Myra Hess
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
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