John Lemmone (1861-1949), flautist and composer, was born on 22 June 1861 at Ballarat, Victoria, son of John Lemon, originally Lamoni, a goldminer from Greece, and his English wife Mary, née Baker. Raised...
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Australian Dictionary of Biography
Although best remembered as Nellie Melba's long time manager and friend, John Lemmone was a virtuoso flautist and composer of many pieces and studies for the flute. He grew up in Ballarat, first learning tin whistle and then fife, and at age twelve learning a flute that he bought with gold he had panned himself. He became a theatre musician for Lyster's Royal Italian Opera Company in Melbourne, and later made his solo debut along with Mrs Armstrong (Melba) and Mary Ellen Christian at a benefit concert for the conductor Carl Esasser in Adelaide in 1884.
After returning to Melbourne to play in the orchestra of Williamson and Musgrove's theatrical company, an opportunity came for him to tour Australia and Asia as an obbligatist to soprano Amy Sherwin in the late 1880s. He subsequently toured with singers Janet Patey, Signor Foli and Charles Santley, and violinist Pablo Sarasate, never again playing in orchestras. In 1894 Lemmone went to London where he renewed his acquaintance with Melba, through whom he made many influential contacts, and gave recitals in venues as distinguished as the Royal Albert Hall. After developing skills in concert management, he acted as Melba's manager and associate artist for her 1902 Australian tour. In 1910 he scouted for singers for the Melba-Williamson season of 1911, then toured with Melba to New Zealand, America and Europe, and organised her fundraising concerts during the First World War. The longevity of their relationship has given rise to unproven speculation on it being more than platonic.
Lemmone remained a consummate and spirited flautist after his retirement in 1927, and he made a number of recordings and gave recitals for broadcast. WH Paling and Co published his compositions for piano and during the 1910s and 1920s. He continued to play for recreation until his death.