Percy Kahn

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Percival (Percy) Benedict Kahn (9 December 1880 – 2 May 1966) was an English composer and pianist. His most noted composition was the song Ave Maria with accompaniment by piano, and violin obbligato.

Kahn was born in London in 1880. He was a boy soprano, then studied organ at the Royal College of Music with Walter Parratt, piano with Marmaduke Barton, and theory with Charles Wood and Walford Davies. Kahn gave a press interview in Australia in 1938 about his career which confirms the above biographical details, and can be accessed here:

Kahn accompanied some of the great musicians of the day, including violinists Mischa Elman and Fritz Kreisler; sopranos Dame Nellie Melba, Luisa Tetrazzini, Florence Austral and Oda Slobodskaya, tenors Enrico Caruso, John McCormack, Richard Tauber, Joseph Hislop and Beniamino Gigli; and baritones Titta Ruffo and John Brownlee. Of all these artists, he was most closely associated with Richard Tauber whom he accompanied regularly for 14 years, from 1933 up to his death. For details, see Daniel O'Hara, Richard Tauber Chronology, which lists over 200 occasions on which Kahn accompanied Tauber.

Tauber recorded four of his songs for Parlophone, and sang others in broadcasts.

Percy Kahn was married to the contralto Olive Kavann, with whom he also recorded.

His Ave Maria was recorded in 1913 by Enrico Caruso and Mischa Elman, with the composer at the piano.

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