2 thoughts on “Contact

  1. RE. Jane Parker-Smith

    Dear Richard,

    We’ve not met, but Jane spoke so warmly of you whilst here in South Africa in 2011. She was my organ/piano teacher almost 50 years ago, and she came to stay with me here in Cape Town after the concerts in Johannesburg.

    I’m writing to check if you heard of the tragic news of Jane’s unexpected passing on 24th June in London. We are all reeling with this turn of events, and plunged into a great grief at the loss of such a unique and bright star. My assumption is that you’ve already heard, but I wanted to ensure you knew…

    Thank you for all your kind hospitality and generosity during her last visit: she greatly appreciated all you did on her behalf.

    With best wishes,

    Fiona C. Gifford

    1. Dear Fiona,

      Thank you so much for getting in touch about Jane. Yes, we did hear the news of her tragically early death, and it has greatly saddened us. She was not only the most wonderful player, but a great person too. Clare and I got to know her only on that trip she took to SA, and met up with her a few times in London after that. She stayed with us in JHB, and it was a very fun and hilarious time, as you can imagine. Her tour of SA was a disaster, because the organisers had done nothing to publicise the concerts or get anything organised. Needless to say, her playing was out of this world. I was very fortunate that she premiered three of my works for organ. It was very good of her to do that, because contemporary repertoire was not really her thing. Best of all was the first performance of my Passacaglia on a Theme of Benjamin Britten, which she gave in Essen Cathedral as part of the ‘Britten 100’ celebrations in 2013. It was a blistering performance.

      As a player, I reckon she had very few rivals, especially in the big romantic repertoire. As a person, she was an absolute delight, and we became very good friends. I was shocked to hear of her death. Especially at the moment, we need players and people like her more than ever, and she will be missed by a lot of people.

      It was lovely that she was able to go on to see you in CT after the trip to JHB, and as she left us then I was sure she was going to have a great time with you there.

      Thanks once again for writing : do keep in touch. We are now back in the UK permanently, after some truly wonderful years in glorious SA.

      With very best wishes


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