Lehmann, Liza (1862–1918)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Lehmann, Liza (1862–1918)

English composer, pianist, singer, and first woman in England to be commissioned to write a musical comedy. Name variations: Fredrika; Mrs. Herbert Bedford. Born Elizabeth Nina Mary Lehmann in London, England, on July 11, 1862; died in Pinner on September 19, 1918; daughter of Rudolph Lehmann (a painter) and Amelia Lehmann (a singer); married Herbert Bedford (a painter and composer), in 1894.

Liza Lehmann was born Elizabeth Nina Mary Lehmann in London, England, in 1862. She grew up in an artistic family: her father Rudolph Lehmann was a painter; her mother Amelia Lehmann was a singer. Liza studied voice with her mother and then with Albert Bandegger and Jenny Lind . Her musical education was quite good; her parents sent Lehmann to the Continent where she studied composition under Raumkilde in Rome and Freudenberg in Wiesbaden before returning to London to study with Hamish MacCunn. In November 1884, Liza Lehmann debuted as a singer at the Monday Popular Concerts. Her career was encouraged by Joseph Joachim and Clara Schumann , two of the best-known concert artists of the time. In fact, Schumann accompanied Lehmann in a concert with the Philharmonic in 1888. In 1894, Lehmann gave up concertizing when she married Herbert Bedford, deciding to concentrate her energies solely on composing. She was the first woman in England ever to be commissioned to write a musical comedy or operetta, resulting in Sergeant Brue. Lehmann taught at the Guildhall School of Music in 1913. Her music was largely vocal, as she composed many songs and two operas in addition to Sergeant Brue. She is best remembered for In a Persian Garden (1896), a song-cycle for four voices based on the Rubyaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which included the song "Myself When Young."

John Haag , Athens, Georgia