Dame Fanny Waterman 1920–2020
Harewood is deeply saddened to hear of the news of the passing of Dame Fanny Waterman, who died peacefully in December having reached the age of 100. Dame Fanny leaves an incredible legacy, she was a true ‘force of nature’ in the world of classical music. Through the Leeds International Piano Competition, which she launched in 1961 with her husband Dr Geoffrey de Keyser and Marion Thorpe CBE (then Countess of Harewood), affectionately known worldwide as ‘The Leeds’, she helped launch the careers of many of the most talented pianists of our time.
David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood, remembers her fondly:
‘I’ve known Fanny Waterman, Dame Fanny, since I was a boy. She and my mother were close friends, they wrote highly successful piano tutor books together and Fanny was always very generous in acknowledging her central role in the early days of the Leeds International Piano Competition, ‘The Leeds’.
‘I was, briefly, Fanny’s pupil, one of the worst she ever had she confided later, which I suppose is some sort of a backhanded compliment.
‘Fanny was 100 when she died – of course she was, her determination and extraordinary fighting spirit could have no other outcome. She was an extraordinary woman, a true embodiment of that over-used expression ‘a force of nature’.
‘It has been a privilege to know her and Diane and I and the rest of my family join together to send our condolences and warmest wishes to her sons Robert and Paul and the rest of her family.’
21 December 2020
Our condolences go out to Dame Fanny’s family, and to all those whose lives she influenced with great positivity, affection and acclaim.
Photo courtesy of the Leeds International Piano Competition, pictured: Dame Fanny Waterman, Benjamin Britten (composer and close friend of George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood), and the then Countess of Harewood, musician Marion Thorpe.