Margaret Schofield was one of the Australia’s leading pianists during her distinguished career, performing as a soloist, accompanist and actively teaching the piano for almost 60 years.

Margaret was born in Melbourne and already as a young teenager was teaching piano during the years of the Great Depression to supplement her family’s income. She gained a scholarship to university and studied music at the University of Melbourne from 1935 to 1938, gaining a Bachelor of Music degree.

After the war, she studied piano in London from 1947 to 1949 under the direction of Solomon, while engaged as a staff pianist at the BBC. She took part in solo and chamber music concerts and accompanied well-known artists regularly on television.

In 1951 & 1952 she visited the USA and performed regularly and gave a series of recitals for the Canadian Broadcasting Company. In 1952 she revisited England and gave a recital at Wigmore Hall and a series of BBC recitals.

She returned to Australia with her husband, and during the 1950s and 1960s she had regular concert tours with visiting overseas musicians, including violinists Jean-Pierre Wallez, Alfredo Campoli and Maurice Hasson, cellists Edmund Kurtz and Rohan de Saram, sopranos Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Eileen de Tullio, tenors Ronald Dowd and Gerald English, flautist Jean Pierre Rampal and saxophone player Sigurd Rascher. During this period, she had two children, Andrew & Fiona.

In 1963 she travelled overseas and again broadcast for the BBC London. In 1966 she was appointed Chief Study Teacher at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium, she also lectured in accompanying and piano at the Melba Conservatorium, examined for the Australian Music Examinations Board and adjudicated at many eisteddfods and competitions.

She continued to give regular concert recitals, and performances with Musica Viva, Soirees Musicales, and played regularly with chamber music groups. Unfortunately, her career suffered a major interruption, resulting from a severe pedestrian accident in 1985, which resulted in three months hospitalization and rehabilitation.

However, after recovery she was able to continue to give regular recitals, performances at regional music clubs and in 1990 she gave a Chopin Recital at the Camberwell Civic Centre with great success. She was a founding supporter and a regular accompanist for the Lieder Society, she gave numerous performances for charity, including the Red Cross, the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence and for the sisters of Charity of St. Vincent’s Hospital.

In 1988 she was awarded the OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for her services to music and the community. She continued to teach and play regularly until almost 80 years of age.

Margaret Schofield, O.A.M., B.Mus, 1918 2004

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