Tributes paid to pianist Dame Fanny Waterman who has died aged 100

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Tributes paid to pianist Dame Fanny Waterman who has died aged 100

Founder and President Emeritus of The Leeds International Piano Competition was world-renowned as a musician

Tali is a reporter at Jewish News

Dame Fanny Waterman
Dame Fanny Waterman

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.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: