Pianists in the Wood
Solomon Cutner CBE (1902 -1988 )
He was known professionally as Solomon and was a child prodigy. He gave his first concert in 1912 at the age of ten, then retired from public performance during his teens before resuming his career as an adult performer.
Renowned especially for his Beethoven, he was in the midst of recording the complete cycle of 32 piano sonatas in 1956 when he suffered a devastating stroke which paralysed his right arm. He never performed again but lived on for another 32 years, loyally looked after by his cousin Gwen at their home, Burleigh House, 16 Blenheim Road, St John’s Wood.
He was appointed a CBE in 1946 and he died in London in 1958, aged 85.
Katharine Goodson (1872 – 1958 )
Born in Watford, she studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music. She married Arthur Hinton , a composer, in 1903. In 1923 she was living at 14 St Johns Wood Road and in her retirement at 6 St Johns Wood Road.
Dame Myra Hess DBE (1890-1965)
An English pianist, born into a Jewish family in Kilburn, London, she was best known for her performances of the works of Bach and Mozart. She started playin.g the piano at an early age, starting lessons at the age of five. In 1903 at the age of 12 she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where she met her mentor Tobias Matthay who was to be instrumental in developing her talent.
She made her public debut at the age of seventeen playing in the Queen’s Hall, a famous classical music concert hall in central London, with the New Symphony Orchestra and its then conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham.
During WW2 she organised classical music concerts at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, and was made a Dame of the British Empire.
From 1925 she lived at 8 Carlton Hill but in WW2 was bombed out of there and moved to 23 Cavendish Close.
Harriet Cohen CBE (1895-1967) An immensely gifted and beautiful pianist who promoted contemporary British music. Many composers wrote specially for her including Arnold Bax with whom she had a 30 year relationship. In the 1930s she lived at 1a Abercorn Place which Bax bought for her and which was bombed during the war.
Benno Moiseiwitsch CBE (1890-1963 )
was a Russian born in Odessa (now the Ukraine ) British pianist who began his studies at the age of seven, won the Artur Rubinstein Prize when he was just nine years old , then studied in Vienna for four years before coming to England . He made his English debut in 1908 and his London debut in 1909.Following on after an international schedule , he settled in England and took British citizenship in 1937. He was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1946 for his services to music during WW2 , having given many recitals for servicemen and charities.
He lived at 46 Avenue Road, St John’s Wood.
Dame Imogen Cooper DBE ( 1949 – )
is the daughter of the musicologist Martin Cooper and the artist Mary Stewart who lived at 51 Hamilton Terrace . At the age of 12 she was sent to Paris to study for six years at the CSNM. She was mentored in her late teens by Arthur Rubinstein and Clifford Curzon. She was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in 2019 and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2021.
Benjamin Britten – Baron Britten OM, CH (1913 – 1976 )
An English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th century British music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber music . In the 1940s he and his partner Peter Pears lived at 45a St John’s Wood High Street.
Gerald Moore CBE (1899 – 1987 )
was an English classical pianist best known for his career as a collaborative pianist for many distinguished musicians. Among those with whom he was closely associated were Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schuman, Hans Hotter, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Victoria de Los Angeles and Pablo Casals. He was made a CBE in 1954. He lived at 40 Hamilton Terrace.
s a classical pianist, composer and writer. He became an Australian citizen in 2005, thus has dual nationality. He was awarded the CBE in 2014 for services to music and in 2018 he was made an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society. He joined the Roman Catholic Church when he was 19. In 2012 he had a solo exhibition of his paintings in London. He has written about his homosexuality and its relationship with both his music- making and his religion.
In 2008 he won the sixth International Poetry competition.
He lives in St John’s Wood in a mews house.