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Marjorie Hesse (1911-1986) : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Twilight (solo piano) by Marjorie Hesse, from the CD Reverie

Marjorie Hesse studied piano with Sydney May, one of Brisbane's leading teachers, and at fifteen won the National Prize for Piano and Harmony from Trinity College. Following this, Hesse's family moved to Sydney where she attended the NSW State Conservatorium High School.

At the Conservatorium, Hesse studied piano with Frank Hutchens, and composition with Alfred and Mirrie Hill, and graduated with both teaching and performance diplomas in 1931. She had been the recipient of a Grade 1 scholarship from the Conservatorium at the end of her first year, and also received a piano scholarship from the AMEB in 1930.

Hesse gave her first recital at the Conservatorium in 1932, including a Toccata written for her by Frank Hutchens and one of her own compositions, All Suddenly the Wind Comes Soft, in the programme. She was to become very well-known as a pianist and during her career gave performances of works not heard before by local audiences, such as Delius' Dance for Harpsichord, Roy Agnew's toccata, Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Alfred Hill's Piano Concerto. Hesse also frequently performed in ABC radio broadcasts.

Travelling to England in about 1939, she was engaged by Dino Borgioli to accompany his pupils who at that time included the New Zealand soprano Joan Hammond. In New York she gave a recital of Australian music with the singer Alice Prowse, and she also performed Australian music in a later tour of Britain, Europe, the United States and Canada.

Hesse returned to Australia and commenced work towards a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English and Anthropology at the University of Sydney.

As a lecturer and member of the piano faculty at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music from 1936 to 1981, as an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board, and as a composer of pieces designed for younger performers, Marjorie Hesse made a significant contribution to music education in Australia. She was awarded the MBE in 1975, and was made an Honorary Life Member of the Music Teachers' Association in 1983.

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Scherzo and Trio (solo piano) Commissioned by Marjorie Hesse.