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Cello maestro who died in Cuckfield is still remembered

May Mukle in 1907

May Mukle's name is associated with Cuckfield where she died in 20 February 1963 at the age of 82. But who was she?

Described in The Times as 'in the very front rank of living violoncellists', and her obituary in The Times says of her: 'by the turn of the century she was fully recognised not only as an outstanding musician but as one of the most remarkable cellists this country had produced.'

In 1909 received rave reviews for her playing of the Viktor Herbert Concerto at the promenade concerts in London, 'Her splendid command of technique and her complete sense of musicianship, showed that she has won her way to the front rank of living violoncellists.'

Mukle was born in London, the daughter of Leopold Mukle. Her father was an immigrant from Hungary, trained as a clockmaker, but best known as an organ builder in London, part of the partnership Imhof & Mukle.

1918 Convert in Aeolian Hall, New York

She founded the Mainly Musicians Club in a basement in London; during World War II, she converted it into an air raid shelter. She was an original member of the Society of Women Musicians, and present at the organisation's first meeting in 1911.

She studied cello at the Royal Academy of Music with Alessandro Pezzeand a portrait, painted by John Mansfield Crealock, hangs in the museum of the Academy. Since 1964 a prize in Mukle’s honor has been awarded to cello students of the college.


Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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