Joan Burns MBE

Listed on January 9, 2014 in Blogs!

Our dear friend and colleague, Joan Burns, died peacefully in her sleep on Friday 3rd January. She was 91. Many of you will know Joan from her music appreciation courses at Dillington and elsewhere and some of you may have even travelled on her extraordinary trips to Bayreuth, Vienna or even the Metropolitan Opera, New York. She was a great ambassador for music – especially 19th century music and Austro-German music in particular. If you mentioned Wagner, Mahler or Strauss her eyes lit up. No wonder she was the President of the Manchester Wagner Society! That said, she was champion of all opera. But it was Chopin that perhaps was closest to her heart. As a concert pianist she was most intimate with his genius and it wouldn’t take much to get her playing. In 1994 she was awarded the MBE ‘for services to music’ and it was right that this acknowledgement should have been broad as she loved all sorts of music and spent her life enthusing about it. Her last course at Dillington was in 2012 and it was only ill-health that prevented from teaching in the summer of last year. Joan’s stomping ground was the Manchester area and well do I remember the coach arriving from the north west loaded with her fan club! Her summer courses at Dillington will long be remembered as indeed will be Joan herself. An extraordinary character and much loved teacher and musician.