The December meeting of the Music Society was a warm welcome back to international pianist Helen Leek accompanied this time by South African born violinist Gina Beukes for an evening of music by Fritz Kriesler. Born in Vienna in 1875 and subsequently living much of his life in the USA, where he died in 1962, his life spanned a period of great change in classical music. Kreisler caused a scandal in musical circles when he revealed that many of the works that he'd performed throughout his musical life, and that he had attributed to a range of Baroque composers, had in fact been written by himself. Critics were offended and embarrassed, feeling that they had been duped and deliberately misled but as Kreisler himself said 'the name changes, the value remains'.
Between musical pieces like Caprice Viennois, Liebesfreud and Syncopation Helen had written a script depicting some of the colourful extracts of Fritz Kreislers life spoken by the narrator Thomas Stevenson.
Helen was a scholar and prize winner at the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded the JBR trophy at the Royal Over-Seas League competition. She subsequently studied with Alexander Satz in Vienna with the help of an Austrian Government Scholarship. Helen was one of the major prize winners at the International Young Concert Artists Competition and won the 2nd prize in the Brant International Piano Competition.
Violinist Gina was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and started studying the violin aged 5 with Alan Solomon, later studying chamber music with Betty Pack and also playing in her string chamber orchestras.