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Adelina de Lara (1872–1961)
Adelina de Lara, born Lottie Adeline Preston, adopted her performance name after the proprietor of a music shop declared Preston “too English”. She was a child prodigy, giving her first public performance at the age of six, and continuing to perform in the UK until the age of 12. Adelina’s talents caught the eye of the renowned pianist Fanny Davies who, after one year’s teaching, sent her to The Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt to have lessons with Clara Schumann. Adelina described her six years of study in Germany as the happiest and most peaceful time in her life, and Clara regarded her as one of her best pupils. On her return to the UK in 1891 and still only 19 years old, Adelina made her debut at St James’s Hall, London, where she performed in the last concert of the season on the recommendation of Clara Schumann.
This was the beginning of a distinguished career spanning over sixty years. Adelina performed for many esteemed musicians, including Dame Myra Hess and Sir Adrian Boult, and counted the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother as one of her admirers. Adelina remained an ambassador for Clara’s teachings throughout her life, through performance, tuition, broadcasts and talks.