Adelina de Lara was a British concert pianist and composer. Lottie Adelina Preston was born in Carlisle, Cumberland in 1872 to George Matthew Tilbury (Preston) and Anna de Lara. Her grandfather was the Spanish Count, Laurent de Lara. Her mother was the sister-in-law of Sir Landon Ronald. She was once told that her surname ‘Preston’ was far too ‘English’ to be a suitable name for a performer thus she adopted her mother’s maiden name, de Lara. Adelina first performed in public at the age of six, and by the age of twelve had played as a professional pianist in concert halls and venues throughout the UK.
She was educated at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt under Iwan Knorr, and studied piano with Fanny Davies and Clara Schumann, whose work she championed for most of her life. She was close friends with Johannes Brahms throughout her studies. As an adult, Adelina de Lara performed in public for the first time following her studies in 1891 and continued for over seventy years, making her final appearance on 15 June 1954 at the Wigmore Hall London. She made many recordings for the BBC and appeared on BBC Television on her 82nd birthday.
During World War II she played for Dame Myra Hess at the National Gallery and later in life, Sir Adrian Boult. In 1951 Adelina was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). The late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother was both an admirer and a friend and sent good wishes for concerts on many occasions.
She also worked as a teacher, her students including Eileen Joyce and many other distinguished pianists. She composed a plethora of works which have included ballads, song cycles and many for piano including two concertos. There were also two suites for strings, including ‘In The Forest’, which was performed in 2005, in Gloucester Cathedral by the Gloucester Academy of Music.
Adelina de Lara’s autobiography entitled Finale was published in 1955 and she died at the age of 89 in Woking, Surrey on 25 November 1961.
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