Irene Scharrer

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Irene Scharrer (2 February 1888 – 11 January 1971) was an English classical pianist.

Irene Scharrer was born in London and studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Tobias Matthay.[1]

Scharrer made her London début at the age of 16, and gave concerts regularly until June 1958, where she appeared for the last time, playing Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos with Myra Hess. They often performed four-handed compositions together.[2] (Scharrer is sometimes erroneously described as Hess's cousin. She was distantly related to another fine woman pianist, Harriet Cohen, the two sharing a great-great-grandfather).

Other collaborators included Arthur Nikisch in Berlin,[3] and Landon Ronald in London.

She visited Sir Edward Elgar in 1918 and was promised the first performance of his piano concerto, then being sketched.

Her technique was one of refinement rather than power. Her surviving recordings show her at her best in the smaller pieces of the romantic repertoire, where her impeccable control, fine tone and lack of showiness serve the music well.



A selection of reissues is commercially available.

From as early as 1909 she recorded for HMV, then between 1929 and the mid-1930s for Columbia. Recorded repertoire included:

  • Bach Prelude and Fugue (HMVD576)
  • Chopin Prelude in F-sharp minor; Waltz in E minor (HMV E255); Fantaisie-Impromptu; Impromptu in A-flat (HMV D1087); Study in B-flat (HMV D1303)
  • Saint-Saëns Allegro Scherzando from Piano Concerto in G (HMV D81)
  • Schumann Intermezzo in E-flat (HMV D87)
  • Mendelssohn Rondo Capricioso (HMV D87); The Bees' Wedding (HMV D1303)
  • Sinding Rustle of Spring (HMV D1087)
  • Debussy Poissons d'or; Reflets dans l'eau (HMV D914); Arabesque No. 2 (HMV D576)


  1. ^ Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Seventh Edition, Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky, Schirmer Books, New York, 1984
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ His Master's Voice Catalogue, 1927
  5. ^ His Master's Voice Catalogue, 1930
  6. ^ [2]