Joyce, Eileen Alannah (1908-1991)

Also known as
Barratt, Eileen Alannah (1908-1991)
Joyce, Eileen Alannah, (CMG) (1908-1991)
Mann, Eileen Alannah (1908-1991)
Field of activity
Concert Pianist; Pianist
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-775065

Biographies

Eileen Joyce (1908-1991), concert pianist, was born on 1 January 1908 at Zeehan, Tasmania, fourth of seven children of Tasmanian-born Joseph Thomas Joyce, miner, and his Victorian-born wife Alice Gertrude,...

View the full record at Australian Dictionary of Biography

Eileen Joyce was taught the piano at St Joseph's Convent at Boulder where her prodigious talent was first recognised. She went on to establish a career in England where her concert performances in glamorous gowns, and studio recordings, would make her one of the most popular pianists of her time. The Joyce family moved to Western Australia and settled in Boulder where Eileen had her first music lessons at St Joseph's Convent. Because of her prodigious talent, a fund-raising committee in Kalgoorlie-Boulder assisted her to take up a scholarship at the Loreto Convent in Perth. Hearing her play the renowned musicians Percy Grainger and Wilhelm Backhaus recommended she should study abroad. In 1926, after a tour of country towns and a farewell concert at His Majesty's Theatre in Perth, Eileen went to Leipzig in Germany, then London to study and where her stellar career was launched. In 1933 she made the first of many studio recordings in London. She was so successful her record sales during the 1940s are reputed to have rivalled those of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, amongst others. She returned to Australia in April 1936 for a national tour and a series of concerts for the ABC. On the Easter Saturday she gave a recital at the Kalgoorlie Town Hall, and the following day played for the nuns at St Joseph's. During the war Eileen played for the troops, and in the bombed out cities of England with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, all helping to endear her to the people. Eileen always dressed the part of the glamorous concert pianist. She commissioned her gowns from leading fashion designers, the most famous being Norman Hartnell who designed the coronation gown for Queen Elizabeth II. In later life Eileen was awarded many honours for her contribution to music, receiving an Honorary Doctor of Music from the Universities of Cambridge (1971), University of Western Australia (1979), and the University of Melbourne (1982). In 1981 she was made a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and Saint George at Buckingham Palace.

Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Eileen Alannah Joyce was awarded an honorary doctorate of Music from Cambridge University in 1971. Her talent, commitment and service to music was further recognised in 1981 when she was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG). Born in Tasmania and educated in Perth, Eileen Joyce lived most of her life in England. But she never forgot her roots, and throughout her life remained a strong and active supporter of young musicians in Western Australia.

An internationally renowned concert pianist, Eileen Joyce's life started a long way away from the world stage. Eileen's rags-to-riches life story, which saw her become Britain's wartime sweetheart, has since been novelised and captured on film.

Daughter of Irish/Spanish parents, Eileen Alannah Joyce was born in a tent in the mining town of Zeehan, Tasmania in 1912. Her father, an itinerant labourer, relocated his family to Kununoppin in Western Australia when Eileen was only two years old.

Although they could barely afford it, Eileen began piano lessons when she was about nine and later studied piano at the Loretto Convent in Perth. Percy Grainger and Wilhelm Backhaus, hearing the young Eileen play, were so impressed by her talent that they encouraged her to further her studies in Europe. In 1927 Eileen left Australia to study at the Leipzig Conservatorium in Germany under Schnabel and Teichmüller, and at the Royal College of Music in London under Tobias Matthay.

In 1930 Eileen made her debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at one of Sir Henry Wood's BBC promenade concerts. Throughout her career Eileen performed with orchestras in Berlin, France, Italy, New York as well as all of the principle orchestras in the UK. Between 1936 and 1962 she made tours to Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Finland, South America, New Zealand, Soviet Russia, Yugoslavia and India.

Eileen appeared in a number of films including and the autobiographical, (1951). She also contributed to the soundtracks of many films, and is probably most notably remembered for her C minor Rachmaninov performance in David Lean's (1945).

Eileen married in London in 1937 and had a son. In 1942 her husband died on active service in North Africa. Although she lived most of her life, and died, in England, Eileen maintained a strong interest in young musicians from Western Australia.

In the late 1970s Eileen donated $37,000 to the University of Western Australia as a fund to assist in the development of music in Western Australia and especially to assist students, as Eileen Joyce Music Scholars, to obtain keyboard experience outside Western Australia.

Eileen also gave her personal records to the Callaway Centre, University of Western Australia in 1990. This substantial archive, spanning 1926 to 1989, consists of personal and career related correspondence, concert diaries, programs and newspaper clippings. The Eileen Joyce Archive also contains recordings never before released.

In 1971 Eileen was awarded an honorary doctorate of Music from Cambridge University. Ten years later, in 1981, she was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for her service to music.

  • Studied at Leipzig Conservatorium (Germany) under Schnabel and Teichmüller and Royal College for Music (London) under Tobias Matthay
  • Debuted with London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Toured Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Finland, South America, New Zealand, Soviet Russia, Yugoslavia and India
  • Awarded honorary doctorate of Music, Cambridge University
  • Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

The Australian pianist Eileen Joyce, who died in England on March 25, rose from poverty-stricken obscurity to become one of this century's most famous concert stars.

View the full record at Obituaries Australia

Resources for Eileen Alannah Joyce

Selected resources (17)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Joyce, Eileen Alannah
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. Joyce, Eileen Alannah (1908-1991)
    Tunley, David
    Published: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University
    Series: IspartOf Australian Dictionary of Biography
  3. Eileen Joyce: A Portrait
    Davis, Richard
    [Fremantle, W.A.]
    Published: Fremantle Arts Centre Press
  4. The Complete Book of Great Australian Women: Thirty-six women who changed the course of Australia
    De Vries, Susanna
    [Sydney]
    Published: HarperCollins
  5. Eileen Joyce (1912-1991)
    Wood, I W (Bill)
    Published: Women Tasmania
    Series: IspartOf Significant Tasmanian Women
  6. Faith, Hope and Charity Australian Women and Imperial Honours: 1901-1989
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2003]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  7. Records of the Australian Musical Association
    Published: National Library of Australia
  8. The Macmillan dictionary of women's biography
    Uglow, Jennifer (compiler and editor)
    [London]
    Published: Macmillan
  9. The Oxford dictionary of music
    Kennedy, Michael
    [Oxford; New York]
    Published: Oxford University Press
  10. The new Penguin dictionary of music
    Jacobs, Arthur
    [Harmondsworth]
    Published: Penguin
  11. Eileen Joyce Music Fund
  12. Once you stop playing, you're forgotten
    Orga, Ates
    Series: IspartOf CD Historicals
  13. Eileen Joyce interviewed by James Murdoch in the Esso Performing Arts collection [sound recording]
    [1989]
    Series: National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection
    Joyce, an Australian pianist, speaks about her first piano; school; music lessons; her hands; early life; Percy Grainger; conductors; her first concert; agents; her overseas tours; her interest in the harpsichord; her own pianos; studying in Liepzig; her teachers; her recording career; playing in films; Frank Calloway; Sydney Pianists Competition; her marriages; her Australian tours; and her repertoire.
    ORAL TRC 2402
  14. Eileen Joyce Collection
    [10 m : 1920 - 1989]
    Series: The University of Western Australia, The Callaway Centre Archive
    The collection spans 1920-1989 and includes more than 3000 items, most in print format, including nearly 1000 letters, 900 newspaper clippings and 27 scrapbooks that were collated by Joyce herself between 1936 and 1952. In addition, there are 13 diaries (from 1947-1960), more than 700 concert programs, five autobiographical essays, almost 100 photographs, her own sets of recordings - all 78s (100 records) - and her private collection of published music (more than 750 pieces) including some of the works that contributed to her global reputation. In total, the boxed collection occupies 10 metres of shelf space and also includes some personal objects that once belonged to Joyce.
  15. Shirley Daffen papers.
    [2000 - 2002]
    Series: State Library of Western Australia, J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History
    Short biographies of Georgiana Molloy; Kira Bousloff; Queenie McKenzie and Eileen Joyce written by Shirley Daffen as part of her research project "Writing women into Australian history" project; booklet, "The Daisy Rossi wildflower story".
    ACC 9059A; MN 3054
  16. Records of the Australian Musical Association, 1952-1995 [manuscript]
    [2.58 m : 1952 - 1995]
    Series: National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    MS 7996 comprises minutes, agendas, reports, correspondence, administrative files, photographs, music scores, programmes, newscuttings and other material relating to the activities of the Australian Musical Association, especially concerts organised by the Association in London. Original scores in this collection include manuscripts by Margaret Sutherland, Don Banks, Miriam Hyde, Larry Sitsky, Linda Phillips, Colin Brumby and Arthur Benjamin (13 boxes, 1 carton). The Acc11.093 instalment comprises the correspondence and official records of Morris and Shirley Barr relating to the Australian Musical Association, during their involvement with the organisation in London. Official correspondence describes a number of professional collaborations between the Association, The Australian High Commission, London, and the Royal Overseas League during this time. Also included in the collection are Association agendas and meeting minutes, concert programs, music scores (Harold Allen), newspaper cuttings and newsletters (1 box)
    MS 7996; MS Acc11.093
  17. Eileen Joyce
    [c. 1940 - c. 1949]
    Series: Eastern Goldfields Historical Society

No user comments for this person

Add a comment


Show comments and reviews from Amazon users

Possibly related

Digitised newspapers and more

Searching...

Minimise

Diaries, letters, archives

Searching...

Minimise

Archived websites (1996 – now)

view all results

  1. Snapshots of websites, web pages and online publications about Australia and Australians collected since 1996.

    Search archived websites
    Search

Pictures, photos, objects

Searching...

Minimise

Books

Searching...

Minimise

Music, sound and video

Searching...

Minimise

People and organisations

Searching...

Minimise

Journals, articles and data sets

Searching...

Minimise

Maps

Searching...

Minimise

Lists

Searching...

Minimise

Government Gazettes

Searching...

Minimise

Archived websites (1996 – now)

No results

Minimise
  1. Female Mayors and Shire Presidents
    ... Say, Joyce ... Wheeler, Eileen Jessie ...
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 6.164)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 6.164)

  2. Women in Politics: Australian Labor Party
    ... MacTiernan, Alannah Joan Geraldine (1953 - ) ... Brownbill, Fanny Eileen (1890 - 1948) ...
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 3.847)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 3.847)

  1. JOYCE STIRLING ON Nocturnal Noises
    The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947) Friday 25 May 1945 p 2 Article
    ... "Eileen Alannah." "Eileen Alannah" is, of course, a very pretty song. But not sung in an empty street at 4 ... JOYCE STIRLING ON Nocturnal Noises QNE thing about our neighbourhood, if you DO happen to have a ... 484 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 2,277.082)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 2,277.082)

  2. JOYCE STIRLING ON Nocturnal Noises
    The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947) Friday 25 May 1945 p 2 Article
    ... "Eileen Alannah," , "Eileen Alannah" is, of course, a very pretty song. But not sung in on empty street at ... JOYCE STIRLING ON Nocturnal Noises QNE thing about our neighbourhood, if you DO happen to have a ... 484 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 2,277.082)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 2,277.082)

  3. Round About With PENELOPE
    Sunday Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1926 - 1954) Sunday 8 June 1947 p 9 Article Illustrated
    ... Margaret, and stress that she is not to he 'Sae' or 'Susie.' Mrs. Hislop was formerly Joyce Ladewiq. and ... been the scene A DECORATIVE visitor in Bris bane is young Melbourne artist Alannah Coleman, whose ... 1627 words
    • Text last corrected on 1 August 2019 by dbromwich
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 120.199)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 120.199)

Lists

No results

Minimise
  1. APPOINTMENTS, RETIREMENTS AND DISMISSALS
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973) Thursday 20 June 1968 [Issue No.55] p 3441

    Government Gazette Appointments And Employment

    ... Musumeci, Mary Dorothy O'Hara, Eileen 'Alannah Purvis, Patricia Mary Quirk, Lorraine Mary Ryan, Wendy Kaye ... Joyce Stuart, Catherine Rosemary Thomas, Elsie Eileen Wells, Raymond Ernest Aitken, Eric Coles Black ... 2295 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 19.693)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 19.693)

  2. EXAMINATION RESULTS. Examination No. 4635. TO ENABLE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS TO QUALIFY FOR PROMOTION TO THE POSITION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER, GRADE 3, OR HIGHER GRADES, WITHIN T...
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973) Thursday 28 August 1958 [Issue No.48] p 2832

    Government Gazette Appointments And Employment

    ... , Nancy Gay Gallon, Sandra Jeanette Steele, Alannah Kathleen Dobson, Marcia Anne Purdue, Wendy Isabel ... Evelyn Hyatt, Joyce McFarlane, Robyn Phillips, Margaret Jean Swan, Sharon Frances Richards, Deanne ... 1659 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 18.115)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 18.115)

  3. APPOINTMENTS, RETIREMENTS AND DISMISSALS
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973) Thursday 2 September 1971 [Issue No.86] p 5710

    Government Gazette Appointments And Employment

    ... Clerical Assistant—Kevin Michael Healy, Wendy Robyn Mills, Eileen Alannah Purvis, Nerida Ann Roberts ... Morris Gavin, Michelle Joyce Giltinan. South Australia Clerical Assistant, Grade 1—Phyllis Ann Bergman ... 1638 words
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 16.718)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 16.718)

Pictures, photos, objects

No results

Minimise
  1. St. Patrick’s Concert. BRIGHT ENTERTAINMENT AT WEST MAITLAND. (1 April 1939)
    The Newcastle and Maitland Catholic Sentinel : the official organ of the diocese of Maitland.
    [ Article : 1939 ]
    View online
    At Trove DigitalLibrary
    St. Patrick’s Concert. BRIGHT ENTERTAINMENT AT WEST MAITLAND. (1 April 1939)
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.014)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.014)

  2. MONDAY AUGUST 17 (12 August 1959)
    Australian Broadcasting Commission;
    ABC weekly
    [ Article : 1959 ]
    View online
    At Trove DigitalLibrary
    MONDAY AUGUST 17 (12 August 1959)
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.013)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.013)

  3. FRIDAY, August A.B.C. Programmes (26 July 1947)
    Australian Broadcasting Commission;
    ABC weekly
    [ Article : 1947 ]
    View online
    At Trove DigitalLibrary
    FRIDAY, August A.B.C. Programmes (26 July 1947)
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.011)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.011)

  4. SATURDAY AUGUST 1 (29 July 1959)
    Australian Broadcasting Commission;
    ABC weekly
    [ Article : 1959 ]
    View online
    At Trove DigitalLibrary
    SATURDAY AUGUST 1 (29 July 1959)
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.011)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.011)

  1. [History of schools and teachers, 1867-1985]
    [ Book : 1867-1985 ]
    At WA State Library
    This resource may only be vaguely related to your query: matching terms may only have been found in the full text contents of the resource (score: 0.009)

    This resource may only be vaguely related to your query: matching terms may only have been found in the full text contents of the resource (score: 0.009)

  1. Jack Papworth and his Old Time Orchestra
    Papworth, Jack
    [ Sound : 2002-2005 ]
    At 2 libraries
    This resource may only be vaguely related to your query: matching terms may only have been found in the full text contents of the resource (score: 0.029)

    This resource may only be vaguely related to your query: matching terms may only have been found in the full text contents of the resource (score: 0.029)

Maps

No results

Minimise