Dame Janet mourns Dame Fanny

Dame Janet mourns Dame Fanny


norman lebrecht

December 22, 2020

Meesage from Dame Janet Baker:


A giant of a woman has gone from us; diminutive in height, maybe, but  not in any other way . Her personality, her gifts as a musician, teacher and friend have been an enormous influence on her profession, in her home city of  Leeds and in the world of performance , a legacy which will long be remembered. She remained utterly faithful to her ideals for the whole of her long life and never wavered from her pursuit of excellence and hard work, values which were of paramount importance to her and of which she never ceased to remind us .

She was  enormously successful in the difficult art of fund raising; it was usually impossible to refuse her anything because the cause of music and musicians was her passion and she  convinced almost  everyone she met to share it.

As a true and lifelong friend to so many, the grief for her passing from our lives is indescribable.

Janet Baker

Dame Janet was patron of the Leeds International Piano Competition.

And so was Murray Perahia:

It is with great sadness that I heard the news of Dame Fanny Waterman’s passing. She had a strong, indomitable spirit that enabled her to both create the Leeds Piano Competition and to determine its direction and artistic ideals. This had a profound impact on young pianist’s lives and careers, mine included. It gave opportunities that would otherwise be very hard to come by. And personally, I am very grateful for her friendship and counsel, and I will always remember her extraordinary vitality and positive spirit.

Murray Perahia – Patron of The Leeds


  • Bostin'Symph says:

    What a beautiful and insightful tribute!

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Two beautiful tributes. Dame Fanny will be missed, but her legacy will keep her spirit alive for generations to come.