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Penelope Thwaites

PENELOPE THWAITES is known internationally as a concert pianist and composer, broadcaster, editor and festival curator. Born in the UK of Australian parents, Penelope read Music at Melbourne University, winning the Ormond Exhibition and graduating first in her final year. Since her London debut at the Wigmore Hall in 1974, she has performed in over thirty-five countries and has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, BBC Concert Orchestra and major orchestras in Europe, the USA and Australia. Within a wide concert repertoire, Penelope has constantly promoted the work of Australian composers.  Her own composing work includes the 1976 West End musical Ride!Ride! which has had over forty productions, most recently in 2018 in the USA. Keith Michell stars on the SOMM recording. Her choral music, songs and instrumental works are published by Bardic Edition under the Schott-Music imprint.

She is recognised world-wide as a leading exponent of the music of Melbourne-born Percy Grainger (1882-1961) through performances, broadcasts and over 260 tracks of recordings. She features on eight recordings in the Chandos Grainger Edition, where among many other tributes the Penguin Guide remarked “she understands the idiom completely…all beautifully played and recorded” Of her most recent Grainger recording (2016) BBC Music Magazine’s Geoff Brown commented: “some passions flare and fade. Others burn for ever and that is clearly the case with Penelope Thwaites’ love of that maverick spirit Percy Grainger…passion undimmed, the playing’s flair and precision is unchanged.”

Penelope is editor of The New Percy Grainger Companion, the foremost survey of Grainger’s music, garnering enthusiastic reviews. She is a Steinway artist and a represented composer with the Australian Music Centre. She was awarded the International Grainger Society’s Medallion in 1991 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001.

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