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 Marian Margaret <I>Turner</I> McPartland

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Marian Margaret Turner McPartland

  • Birth 20 Mar 1918 Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough, Berkshire, England
  • Death 20 Aug 2013 Port Washington, Nassau County, New York, USA
  • Burial Elmhurst, DuPage County, Illinois, USA
  • Memorial ID 115868964

Jazz Musician. A distinguished pianist and composer, she shall probably be better remembered as hostess of NPR's long-running "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz". Born Margaret Marian Turner to an upper-crust family, she was a piano prodigy from around age three while also developing skill on the violin; at 17 she entered London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama but while there, much to the displeasure of both the faculty and her parents, she developed an affinity for the music of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, and other jazz giants of the day. Dropping out of school, Marian joined the traveling ensemble Billy Mayerl's Claviers, then with the outberak of World War II enlisted in ENSA, the entertainment arm of the British military, under the name Marian Page. Transferring to the U.S.O., she toured throughout the combat zones of Europe and in 1944 met trumpeter Jimmy McPartland during a gig in Belgium with a romance ensuing and the pair marrying in a 1945 military wedding in Germany. Moving to Chicago in 1946, Marian launched the American phase of her career, hampered by jazz being pretty much 'men only' at the time. With Joe Morello on drums and Bill Crow on bass, she formed the Marian McPartland Trio which toured throughout the country and in 1954 released their debut album on Capitol. By 1958 Marian has sufficient stature to be one of the 57 musicians in Art Kane's famous photograph entitled "A Great Day in Harlem". Thru the years she composed such tunes as "Ambience", "There'll Be Other Times", "In The Days of Our Love", and "Twilight World" which were recorded by Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughan, and others. Marian continued performing and recording and in the 1960s formed her own company, Halcyon Records; she was divorced from McPartland in the mid 1960s and became a noted college lecturer while maintaining her busy schedule. On June 4, 1978 "Piano Jazz" was first aired on South Carolina Public Radio and while a run of about a dozen shows was expected the show was to eventually reach more than 200 stations and over 800 episodes up thru September of 2010. Marian's guests included pianists and other instrumentalists, singers, some non-musicians, and even Jimmy McPartland whom she cared for during his terminal illness and remarried two weeks prior to his death from cancer. Her honors were many including a 1983 Peabody Award, being named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in 2000, a 2004 Lifetime Grammy, designation as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on the 2010 Queen's Honours List, and multiple honorary doctorates. She saw her symphonic piece "A Portrait of Rachel Carson" premiered by the South Carolina Symphony Orchestra in 2007, lived out her days at her Long Island home, remained sharp, and died of the effects of advanced age leaving a massive recorded legacy and countless archived broadcasts of "Piano Jazz". At her death she was one of four survivors of Kane's picture.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 22 Aug 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 115868964
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Marian Margaret Turner McPartland (20 Mar 1918–20 Aug 2013), Find A Grave Memorial no. 115868964, citing Arlington Cemetery, Elmhurst, DuPage County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .