Friday, 2 December 2016

Bluebell Klean – Composer, Pianist and Teacher: An Update

I have written a number of posts about the British composer Bluebell Klean (see side bar for links). Athough it has been possible to pieces together some biographical information she had remained largely elusive.
Sandra Daniels, currently a writer and former journalist, has brought to my attention an advert published in the Whitstable Bay Times and Herne Bay Herald for 22 August 1931.
It is for a ‘piano school’ being opened on 21 September of that year by Miss Isobel Klean, R.A.M. in the town of Herne Bay. Klean’s references include her studies with the great piano pedant Tobias Matthay, and unspecified continental training. The advert mentions her solo performances at the Wigmore Hall and the Queen’s Hall in London. She was offering ‘the latest quick and modern method, by which pupils remain keen and interested’. 
Coaching for the Royal Academy of Music and other public examinations were on offer.  Clearly there was also to be a competitive element at the school: three silver cups to be competed for each year.  An annual concert was proposed for the pupils. Miss Klean offered ‘moderate terms’ and special rates for schools. Applications were to be made to The Studio, Stevens’ Music Stores.

On the other hand, this was hardly a big venture: she only proposed visiting Whitstable every Wednesday. There is no further details to suggest that Bluebell made any further progress on this project. This would seem to be the only reference to this piano school in the local newspaper. Perhaps she went back to fishing?


Demetrius said...

She would have been around 64 in 1931, perhaps this was an idea which proved beyond her and it may well be that given what Whitstable was like then there would have been few takers, if any. Her father was Simeon Klean also Kleen a jeweller and watchmaker from Germany. It could be Klein as well given the erratic spellings in the documents. I wonder where in Germany he came from? On her mother's side, her father was Nathan Defries, perhaps of the Sephardic faith?

John France said...

Thanks for that!

John F

Sandra D said...

For info: Bluebell was born in 1875 so would actually have been a mere 56! Having researched some of her life I would think nothing would have been beyond her, but I imagine there were few takers. That very year (1931) she won an angling prize for catching two tope weighing a total of more than 50lbs. Tope are a species of shark highly prized by anglers for its fighting power. So I think she could have coped with giving a few piano lessons! What a lady!

John France said...

Thanks for that

John F