Lance Dossor

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Lance Dossor

3rd Chopin Competition Laureates.jpg

Lance Dossor (far right), February 1937
Background information
Birth name Harry Lancelot Dossor
Born(1916-05-14)14 May 1916
Weston-super-Mare, England, United Kingdom
Died 3 December 2005(2005-12-03) (aged 89)
Adelaide, Australia
Genres Classical music
Occupation(s) Virtuoso pianist, pedagogue
Instruments Piano
Years active 1936–1999

Harry Lancelot "Lance" Dossor (14 May 1916 3 December 2005) was a British-born classical music concert pianist and teacher who emigrated to Australia in May 1953.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.



Harry Lancelot Dossor was born on 14 May 1916 in Weston-super-Mare, United Kingdom, [1] [2] the third child of a jeweller who was also a distinguished amateur tenor. Dossor was educated at Seaford College and matriculated at the University of London. In 1932 he obtained an open scholarship to the Royal College of Music, [3] where he studied piano with Herbert Fryer and composition with Herbert Howells.

Weston-super-Mare town in Somerset, England

Weston-super-Mare, also known as just Weston is a seaside town in North Somerset, England, on the Bristol Channel 18 miles (29 km) south west of Bristol between Worlebury Hill and Bleadon Hill. It includes the suburbs of Oldmixon, West Wick and Worle. Its population at the 2011 census was 76,143. Since 1983, Weston has been twinned with Hildesheim, Germany.

Seaford College

Seaford College is an independent co-educational boarding and day school at East Lavington, south of Petworth, West Sussex, England. Founded in 1884, it is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. The college is in Lavington Park, a 400 acres (1.6 km2) Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the South Downs. The land is owned by a charitable trust and the site is run by the Board of Governors who are the trustees. The college is the inspiration for the Jennings and Darbishire children's books, written by alumnus Anthony Buckeridge.

University of London federal public university in London, United Kingdom

The University of London is a collegiate federal research university located in London, England. As of October 2018, the university contains 18 member institutions, central academic bodies and research institutes. The university has over 52,000 distance learning external students and 161,270 campus-based internal students, making it the largest university by number of students in the United Kingdom.

In 1936 Dossor was awarded the Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, given only every three years to the most outstanding student. He won the 1936 Franz Liszt Prize at the Vienna International Piano Competition, and in the following year the Sonata Prize and overall Fourth Prize in the 1937 International Chopin Piano Competition. In 1938 he was awarded fourth prize in the Ysaye Competition in Belgium - the first three places going to Emil Gilels, Moura Lympany and Yakov Flier.

Worshipful Company of Musicians

The Worshipful Company of Musicians is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. Its history dates back to at least 1350. Originally a specialist guild for musicians, its role became an anachronism in the 18th century, when the centre of music making in London moved from the City to the West End, and for more than a century it was a general guild for figures in the City, with no specific musical role. In the late 19th century, the musical element was revived, and the modern Company promotes all aspects of the art and science of music.

Franz Liszt Hungarian composer and pianist

Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger and organist of the Romantic era. He was also a writer, a philanthropist, a Hungarian nationalist and a Franciscan tertiary.

International Chopin Piano Competition classical music competition

The International Chopin Piano Competition, often referred to as the Chopin Competition, is a piano competition held in Warsaw, Poland. It was initiated in 1927 and has been held every five years since 1955. It is one of the few competitions devoted entirely to the works of a single composer, in this case, Frédéric Chopin.

He later recounted the tale that, while he was still a student, he obtained entry to a rehearsal of one of Sergei Rachmaninoff's concerts in London. He was introduced to Rachmaninoff afterwards by the British pianist Cyril Smith as "... a very promising young pianist who has recently been successful in the Chopin prize." [1] Rachmaninoff responded in his heavy Russian accent "Ah, but who were the judges?" [1]

Sergei Rachmaninoff Russian composer, pianist, and conductor

Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, virtuoso pianist and conductor of the late Romantic period, some of whose works are among the most popular in the Romantic repertoire.

Cyril James Smith OBE was a virtuoso concert pianist of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and a piano teacher.

During the Second World War, from 1939, Dossor served in the Royal Artillery in the Middle East, Italy and Germany, where, because of health problems, he was transferred to Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) to help provide concerts of classical music for the services. In November 1940 he married Diana Levinson, a harpist, who had been a fellow student at the Royal College of Music. [1]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Royal Artillery artillery arm of the British Army

The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments.

Entertainments National Service Association

The Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) was an organisation set up in 1939 by Basil Dean and Leslie Henson to provide entertainment for British armed forces personnel during World War II. ENSA operated as part of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes. It was superseded by Combined Services Entertainment (CSE) which now operates as part of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC).

After leaving military service in 1946, he became a member of the Royal College of Music's teaching staff. [2] He resumed his performance career (solo recitals, concertos and chamber music) playing with various British Orchestras under the batons of Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Rafael Kubelík and Nikolai Malko. He was a soloist for the Royal Philharmonic Society, the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts and, in 1950, he was invited to Israel for ten performances of the Brahms' Second Piano Concerto with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1947 he replaced Dinu Lipatti, who had been taken ill prior to his first London concert.

John Barbirolli British conductor and cellist

Sir John Barbirolli, CH, Giovanni Battista Barbirolli, was a British conductor and cellist. He is remembered above all as conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, which he helped save from dissolution in 1943 and conducted for the rest of his life. Earlier in his career he was Arturo Toscanini's successor as music director of the New York Philharmonic, serving from 1936 to 1943. He was also chief conductor of the Houston Symphony from 1961 to 1967, and was a guest conductor of many other orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, with all of which he made recordings.

Adrian Boult English conductor

Sir Adrian Cedric Boult, CH was an English conductor. Brought up in a prosperous mercantile family, he followed musical studies in England and at Leipzig, Germany, with early conducting work in London for the Royal Opera House and Sergei Diaghilev's ballet company. His first prominent post was conductor of the City of Birmingham Orchestra in 1924. When the British Broadcasting Corporation appointed him director of music in 1930, he established the BBC Symphony Orchestra and became its chief conductor. The orchestra set standards of excellence that were rivalled in Britain only by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), founded two years later.

Malcolm Sargent English conductor, organist and composer

Sir Harold Malcolm Watts Sargent was an English conductor, organist and composer widely regarded as Britain's leading conductor of choral works. The musical ensembles with which he was associated included the Ballets Russes, the Huddersfield Choral Society, the Royal Choral Society, the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, and the London Philharmonic, Hallé, Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras. Sargent was held in high esteem by choirs and instrumental soloists, but because of his high standards and a statement that he made in a 1936 interview disputing musicians' rights to tenure, his relationship with orchestral players was often uneasy. Despite this, he was co-founder of the London Philharmonic, was the first conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic as a full-time ensemble, and played an important part in saving the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from disbandment in the 1960s.

In May 1953 Dossor accepted an initial three-year appointment as principal teacher of piano at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, [4] by which time he and Diana had two children. He remained at the conservatorium until his retirement in 1979. Dossor was known in Australia as a soloist and also in chamber music, including an 18-year partnership with expatriate British cellist, James Whitehead. Together with the violinist, Ladislav Jasek, they also performed as the Elder Trio. Dossor performed in a piano duo with Romola Costantino and served as president of the Adelaide Branch of the Australian Society for Keyboard Music.

His refined sense of colour was used to exquisite effect in his performances of Chopin, while his affinity with the Russian repertoire was revealed in his greatly admired performances of Rachmaninoff. His impact on the musical life of Australia, and Adelaide in particular, was considerable, both through his performances and his numerous students. He was associated with all the Australian state orchestras and took part in festivals in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

He did not leave many recordings, as he felt that a recording was only how he had performed on a particular day, and not necessarily the best performance that he could give. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation recorded a number of his concert broadcasts, but few were issued on record.

Lance Dossor had very decided ideas on music. He loved Schubert and Brahms, but had no patience with Bruckner. His ideal composer was Bach. He said "If I had to make do with only one composer for the rest of my life, it would have to be Bach. His works are pure music". In 2003, the University of Adelaide gave him a Distinguished Alumni award "in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the university and to his profession as performing artist and teacher."

Although officially retired, Lance Dossor carried on teaching part-time and occasionally performing until 1999, when increasing deafness forced him to give up. He died on 3 December 2005 in Adelaide, at the age of 89. [1] [2] He was survived by Diana ( née Levinson) Dossor and their three children. [2]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Bonnin, Jane (16 January 2006). "Obituary: Lancelot Dossor". The Guardian . Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Rae, Charles Bodman (March 2006). "Obituary: Lance Dossor". Adelaidean. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  3. Royal College of Music: Alumni News: Spring 2003
  4. "Music Posts Filled at University". The Advertiser . Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 6 February 1953. p. 3. Retrieved 28 September 2015.