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1901 - Frederick Cowen.png

Like many Honorary Members of the club at the time, Frederick H. Cowen was a highly talented musician and accompanist.

 

Despite publishing his first composition, Minna-waltz, at the age of six, and his first operetta, Garibaldi, before he was even 10, Cowen’s career, as both composer and conductor, are largely forgotten today.

In his autobiography My Art and My Friends (1913), Cowen comes across as a very honest and humorous character. He regarded himself primarily as a symphonist, with the majority of his success coming from lighter orchestral pieces containing graceful melodies.

Cowen first arrived on the Glasgow musical scene as far back at 1884, standing in for an otherwise engaged Augustus Manns, another honorary Member of Ye Cronies. Whilst this initial visit was short-lived, he soon returned as lead conductor of the Scottish Orchestra in 1900, holding the role for the next 10 years.

 

The Scottish Orchestra hosted two concerts a week, and the affinity he built with the Glaswegian audience was very evident in his memoirs:

 

“It was an assemblage mostly of habitues who attended regularly, and sat nearly in the same seats week after week.

I soon got to look upon them more as personal friends or members of one large family than as a usual concert audience”

Given the growing interest in opera and the number of links to Orchestras within the Club, we can be fairly confident that a number of Cronies would have constituted a number of these “habitues” noted by Cowen.

 

Just one year after leaving his role as conductor of the Scottish Opera, Cowen was knighted at St. James’s Palace shortly after the coronation of King George V, on 6th July 1911

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