Heartfelt tributes have been paid to renowned piano teacher Dame Fanny Waterman, who has died aged 100 at her residential care home in Yorkshire.
Founder and President Emeritus of The Leeds International Piano Competition, Dame Fanny was an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society. An internationally acclaimed musician, her series of teaching books, have sold more than three million copies worldwide.
Dame Fanny had ambitious plans to celebrate her 100th birthday in March, with the Leeds competition planning a special day of events, but they had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.
Following confirmation of her death on Sunday, Adam Gatehouse, Artistic Director of The Leeds International Piano Competition, said: “Dame Fanny was a force of nature, a one-off, a unique figure in our cultural firmament who infused everyone with whom she came into contact with a passion and enthusiasm and sheer love of music, particularly piano music, that was totally impossible to resist.
“The lives she has touched, both through the Competition, but also through her teaching and piano books, are too numerous to mention.”
Born in Leeds, Dame Fanny studied at the Royal College of Music in London and after a notable performing career, including a performance at the 1942 Proms with Sir Henry Wood, she felt that her real vocation would be as a teacher.
As a teacher, Dame Fanny trained four pianists under the age of 11 from Leeds, including her niece, to such a standard that they received invitations to perform piano concertos at London’s Royal Festival Hall. One of the pianists, Michael Roll, went on to be the winner of the first Leeds International Piano Competition.
Dame Fanny’s husband, Dr Geoffrey de Keyser, with whom founded she founded the Leeds piano competition, died in 2001. The couple have two sons, Robert and Paul, and six granddaughters.
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