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Ernest Jenner


Born: 1892 Died: 1971


Born in England, Ernest Jenner had piano lessons from the age of seven. He was a highly talented pianist, chorister, and organist and mathematically gifted. His father, a shipwright, objected to his becoming a musician and sent him to a teachers' training college. He abandoned teaching after seven years to become a full-time student in the Tobias Matthay Pianoforte School, working in theatre orchestras at night to finance his studies.

A period at the Royal Academy followed and he became a sub-professor of piano there in 1926. By chance he saw an advertisement in The Times for a lecturer in music at Wellington's Training College, and emigrated, settling eventually in Christchurch where he became very prominent as an educator. Douglas Lilburn gained his piano diploma under him in 1936.

Jenner is said to have been an adventurous musician and a fine concerto soloist, and his compositions were well crafted and recognised as 'genuinely and intensely expressive'. Several, including Foxglove Bells, were published by Charles Begg in the early 1940s in the Lyric Collection series. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy in 1950 and awarded an MBE in 1962.

Biography by Gillian Bibby, taken from 'Living Echoes — The First 150 Years of Piano Music from New Zealand'.

Image credit: Ernest Albert Frederick Jenner, 1892-1971. Lewers, Neville Robert, 1913- :Photographic negatives, transparencies and prints. Ref: PAColl-6180-05-26. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23031704

Composed (1)

Foxglove Bells

for solo piano, 2m 30s