Australian-born pianist Gwenneth Pryor has become well known to British audiences through her regular recitals, concerto performances and broadcasts. A reviewer in the London Press described her as ‘one of the finest pianists of her generation performing in this country, an artist of the widest stylistic sympathies and of exceptional technical control’.
Gwenneth began playing the piano at the age of 3. When she was 13 she won a scholarship to the NSW Conservatorium of Music where she played regularly in student concerts. Following school she went on to full-time music study. By the age of 17 she was broadcasting for the Australian Broadcasting Commission and giving many solo and chamber music concerts. Having graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium with the prize for the most outstanding student of the year, she won a coveted travelling scholarship to study for two years at the Royal College of Music in London.
At the College she studied with the renowned solo and chamber music pianist, Lamar Crowson, during which time she gave many concerts (including playing Beethoven’s Emperor concerto with Sir Adrian Boult). On graduation she was awarded the Hopkinson Gold Medal which led to a performance of Mendelssohn’s Two Piano Concerto at the Musikverein in Vienna.
The Royal College then sponsored her highly successful debut recital at the Wigmore Hall in 1965 following which she was invited to join the books of a London agent. Since that time she has continued to base her career in the UK. Here, Gwenneth has performed regularly at the major halls and with all the major orchestras. She has made both solo and chamber music discs and recorded with the English Chamber Orchestra (championing the works of Malcolm Williamson, formerly Master of the Queen’s Music), London Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestras – (her recording of the Gershwin Concerto/Rhapsody in Blue achieving a 3-star rating in the CD Penguin Guide.) Her performances in the Royal Festival Hall have included Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Philharmonia Orchestra at a Royal Gala Concert.
The many eminent conductors with whom Gwenneth has collaborated include Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Charles Groves, Norman del Mar, Carl Davis, David Zinman and Charles Dutoit. She has been invited to perform and tour in many parts of the world and in such halls as the Lincoln Centre in New York, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna and the Sydney Opera House.
Gwenneth has also won a considerable reputation as a chamber music player. Her partnership with the violinist Carlos Villa led to concerts in the UK, Germany and Switzerland as well as performances of the complete Beethoven violin and piano sonatas in South America for the Beethoven bi-centenary. Their recording of the Beethoven Kreutzer and Spring sonatas was particularly singled out for praise by the Press and became BBC Record of the Year.
Her long and illustrious musical partnership of almost 40 years with the distinguished clarinettist Gervase de Peyer, has performed worldwide and their many CDs have received glowing reviews.
Gwenneth Pryor has always taken a very keen interest in teaching. As a young post- graduate she taught at the Junior Royal College of Music and in addition to her private teaching, has been giving weekly advanced Master Classes at Morley College since 1968. She also examines and adjudicates at the London Music Colleges.