by Al f Werolin
First appeared in the AMICA, V18, No.2, March 1981
The AMICA Board of Directors recently voted unanimously to confer Honorary Membership to former Ampico Recording artist Gertrude Huntley. Her married name is Mrs. Jay Durand and she currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Our new Honorary Member studied under both Moszkowski and Godowsky and concertized throughout the United States and Canada. She recorded Medtner selections for the Ampico in the late 1920's.
A warm welcome to Mrs. Durand as our latest Honorary I ember!
Gertrude Huntley - AMICA's New
by Al f Werolin
Honorary Member, Gertrude Huntley, is a true Canadian of English and Highland Scottish ancestry. Born in St. Thomas, Ontario, she revealed at a very early age extraordinary musical powers and an immense capacity for study. Winning one honor after another as a young music student, she went from the Conservatory of Music at London, Ontario, to Paris, where she became a favorite pupil of the famous Polish teacher and composer Moszkowski. She made her European debut at the Salle Erard, Paris, when a pupil of Moszkowski.
Later Ms. Huntley studied with Leopold Godowsky, both in England and America, and with Nicholas Medther in Germany. Her professional career was enriched by her close association with many great artists of the day, such as Rosenthal, Paderewski, and others.
She made her first appearance in England at Wigmore Hall, London, in 1927, and went on to play in Dresden, Berlin, Paris, and New York. She made a coast to coast tour in this country and Canada in 1926 and 1928, and was soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1930 and'31, and with the Montreal Orchestra in 1932.
In N'Jarcli of 1928 Geitiude Huntley recorded a Medtner selection for the Ampico in New York: "Deux Contes," Op. 20 (Two Fairy Tales), No. 1, B-Flat Minor (68671-Q. It was chosen by the Ampico Selected Recordings Service Committee as the outstanding recording of the month, and featured in their magazine and promotional materials. At the time she made this recording, Medtner, the Russian composer, was considered by many to be one of the greatest living masters of music. His later works display the modern trend, but he was not unaware of melody and pleasing progressions. Ms. Huntley's recording of this lovely piece, which is richly colored with romance, shows her rare virtuosity.
Ms. Huntley chose for her secondary study the violin, and was a pupil of Paul Viardot and Albert Geloso in Paris. Viardot was the son of the famous opera singer Pauline Viardot.
(In correspondence with Ms. Huntley she relates an amusing anecdote: "I left Viardot because Albert Geloso had a string quartet and Pierre Monteux (later Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra) was the viola player. I well remember one rehearsal to which I was invited. Saint Saens was playing his Quintette with them. Chevillard (Conductor of the Lamoureux Orchestra) was turning the pages for Saint Saens. He had been having eye trouble and turned two pages at once. Saint Saens was lost and became furious, so I was asked to turn the pages - and was I proud! Years later I met Monteux in San Francisco and he remembered the incident.")
The music critics raved about Ms. Huntley's playing when she performed on the concert stage. We quote from just one: "The loveliness of her touch, the lustre of her singing tone, and the cleanness, evenness and precision of her execution are fascinating. Above and beyond these cultivated gifts, the innate distinction and imaginative quality of her phrasing reveal profound musicianship" - Hector Charlesworth, managing editor and a foremost musical critic of a Toronto paper.
Gertrude Huntley is now Mrs. Jay Durand and lives in picturesque Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It is a pleasure to welcome her into AMICA to join our other distinguished Honorary Members.
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