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Marian McPartland

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Margaret Marian McPartland, OBE (née Turner; 20 March 1918 – 20 August 2013), was an English-born jazz pianist, composer, and writer. She was the host of Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio from 1978 until 2011.

After her marriage to Jimmy McPartland in February 1945, she resided in the USA when not traveling throughout the world to perform. In 1969 she founded Halcyon Records, a recording company that produced albums for ten years. In 2000 she was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. In 2004 she was given a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. In 2007 she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Known mostly for jazz, nonetheless, she composed other types of music as well, performing her own symphonic work A Portrait of Rachel Carson with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra in 2007. In 2010 she was named a member of the Order of the British Empire.

Margaret Marian Turner was a musical prodigy from the time she could sit at the piano, about the age of three. She studied classical music and the violin, in addition to the piano.

She pursued classical studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Much to the dismay of her family, she developed a love for American jazz and musicians such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Mary Lou Williams, and many others. In 1938, despite her family’s efforts to keep her at Guildhall, Marian left to join Billy Mayerl’s Claviers, a four-piano vaudeville act, performing under the stage name of Marian Page.

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