Marian McPartlandJazz | 2006
Legendary jazz pianist Marian McPartland was born Margaret Marian Turner in 1918 near Buckinghamshire, England. A musical prodigy, McPartland studied classical music and, in addition to her piano studies, mastered the violin. She pursued classical studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London and left to join The Claviers, a four-piano vaudeville act, performing under the stage name Marian Page. The group toured throughout Europe during World War II, entertaining Allied troops. While touring with USO shows in Belgium in 1943, she met and began to play with a Chicago cornetist named Jimmy McPartland. The two were married and performed at their own wedding at a military base in Germany. After the war, the couple moved to Chicago, but in 1949 they moved to Manhattan. With her husband’s encouragement, McPartland started a trio in 1952, and the group began an eight-year residency at the Hickory House, the famous New York City jazz nightclub. In the early 1960s, McPartland began her own record label, Halcyon Records, and gradually began recording her own compositions, along with solo and ensemble works by others. In 1978, she began hosting her own radio program, Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, on National Public Radio. By this time, she was commuting from the couple’s home in Port Washington to New York City—a weekly trip she made for nearly 30 years. McPartland was inducted into the International Association of Jazz Education Hall of Fame in 1986 and was awarded a Grammy in 2004, among other honors. She died in August 2013 at her home in Port Washington. She was 95 years old.