THE FINCHCOCKS CHARITY WEEKLY BLOG


8th May 2020




DAVID WARD 1942- 2020


David Ward, pianist, teacher, early piano specialist, recording artist, Mozart lover, adjudicator and friend died at his home on 19 April.

He had been closely involved with The Finchcocks Charity since its foundation in 1984, and we mourn his passing.

As a professor at the Royal College of Music, and with special involvement with period keyboards, it was natural that our paths should cross. He would often bring down special students from the RCM who were interested in period keyboards to visit us, and play our keyboard instruments. He would maintain a close and personal interest in their progress and subsequent careers.

When we began putting on courses and seminars at Finchcocks Musical Museum, he was a natural choice to be a Tutor, specialising usually in the early classical repertoire for the period piano. Later he would become one of the Council members for The Finchcocks Charity.

A special project associated with the Charity has been the Muzio Clementi Award, which is generously sponsored by Christopher Clementi, the direct descendent of the great composer. This is a Bursary which covers all the expenses associated with a special project on period keyboard instruments; over the years this has been awarded to about a dozen players and scholars from different countries {this has included talented musicians from Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Japan and the United States, with a couple from the UK] . The culmination of the Award is a special adjudicated Presentation by the recipient, which includes both performance and a paper. David was always our choice as the Adjudicator, and his comments always displayed his musical knowledge and understanding, as well as his empathy, his honesty and his percipience about both the person and the presentation.

He had a wide international circle of friends and contacts, one if which was with the music department of the Dartmouth University in New Hampshire, USA. Every other year a group of students from the college came over to London to experience British Musical life for a few weeks, which involved going to lots of concerts and various expeditions. One of these would be a visit to us at Finchcocks, and he and his wonderful wife Elizabeth would be in charge of bringing down a mini bus of young Americans and a few teachers for a day with our collection. We were delighted when, following our move in 2016 from Finchcocks to Waterdown House in Tunbridge Wells, this happy event was repeated in early 2018; once again David could organise the day, and we could welcome about 15 students, who this time came down by train from London, and walked up from the station, some carrying their instruments . We had fondly hoped this could have been repeated once again in 2020.

David was a man of wide culture and interests. He was passionately keen on Shakespeare and in his schooldays at Bryanston had also considered a career as an actor. He was a deeply serious person and he and Elizabeth were dedicated to altruistic projects. Her death a few years ago was a terrible loss. Their two children, Nicholas and Lucy, are both fine doctors, and it was lovely that David could share a home with Lucy and her family in his last years, when he was not in the best of health.

All of us who knew and worked with David will want to send our thoughts and sympathy to his family. We would love to remember him and his special gifts in some sort of memorial here and thanks from The Finchcocks Charity when such events are once again permitted.

Katrina and Dick Burnett. April 2020

From Gary Branch, Euducational Co-ordinator of The Finchcocks Charity:
The Finchcocks Charity has a lively educational team which introduces musicians of all levels and abilities to the world of period instruments. David was a central figure in this team, providing wonderful insight and knowledge of the instruments and the music that was written for them. He combined this with a warm and playful teaching style, which endeared him to so many of the players he taught. He was a great team player and will be fondly remembered by all his colleagues who worked alongside him.