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Percy Brier



The critical edition of Sonata in G minor  for violin and piano is in all likelihood the first publication of one of the largest instrumental works composed by the Queenslander Percy Brier (1885-1970).  He was active in many professional contexts between 1906, when he returned from overseas studies, and his retirement in 1963.  Brier held leadership positions with the Musicians' Association of Queensland (1906-1909), the Music Teachers' (Musical) Association of Queensland where he served 12 terms as its president at various times between 1924 ans 1951, the Australian Music Examinations Board for whom he worked for more than 40 years from1922, and the Guild of Australian Composers for which he helped found a state chapter in 1941.  In 1959 he was appointed to the Advisory Council of the newly established Queensland Conservatorium of Music, whose establishment he had advocated for over many years.

Percy Brier's individual talents were recognised early, achieving the highest results to date in the Trinity College of Music London external examinations in 1900, which enabled him to travel overseas for the following year on a scholarship for studies there.  Immediately upon returning to Brisbane, he became  active as a recitalist and chamber music performer, particularly with colleagues such as string-playing sisters Vada and Mary Jefferies, with whom he formed a Chamber Music Society that was active during 1910 and 1911.  After World War I a similarly named successor, the Brisbane Chamber Music Society was instigated in 1921.  Over the next five years, until its disbandment at the end of 1925, this Society promoted an annual series of three concerts which helped develop a strong following for chamber music, peaking at more than 100 subscribers.  Its programs generally followed the format of two larger ensemble works such as a string quartet or piano quartet / quintet, framing a duo sonata and two short brackets of solo songs.  Significantly, standard European works were sometimes juxtaposed with new repertoire, such as Brier's Violin Sonata.


 

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