Talented Tuesday: NZ Music Month #2

May is New Zealand Music Month!

Accessible through Papers Past and the Digital Library early New Zealand newspapers are great for finding advertisements of musical engagements, performance reviews and are an excellent way of tracing the development of a musician's career.

Geraldine May (Ina) Bosworth (1894 -1975), a Chamber Music pioneer of New Zealand. Ina started her musical  training at an early age, initially instructed on violin by her father, a conductor of one of Auckland's first choirs, the Liedertafel. Here is a glimpse into Ina's impressive musical career as captured in the newspapers.

A review of her concert prior to departing overseas as reported in the Auckland Star, Friday 11 April 1913:
Auckland Star, Friday 11 April 1913

Ina spent 14 years in London studying violin and during that time she also "entertained troops on the battlefields of France, playing chamber music just behind the lines, and once, near Verdun, on a stage built of bully beef tins." - New Zealand Herald, 8 February 1975.

Upon returning to New Zealand her personal life was also captured in the newspapers, including her engagement to Arthur William McNeish, it was announced in the "Social Jottings" column.

Auckland Star on 14 November 1924.

After her marriage to Captain A.W. McNeish, she continued  her musical career giving concerts and broadcasts while raising their two children, Jill and James. Ina was also an advocate for establishing a professional orchestra for Auckland. By 1965 she had her own group - the Ina Bosworth Quartet, and had led six orchestras including the Mozart Players. 

Mrs McNeish (on the left) at a rehearsal with the Mozart Players, 1965.

Auckland Star, 21 June 1965.

According to her obituary published in the New Zealand Herald on 8 February 1975 she celebrated her 80th birthday [in 1974] by "driving to Hamilton and performing a Bach unaccompanied sonata."

Ina embodied the spirit of a true musician throughout her life.

Death notice & obituary from the New Zealand Herald,
8 February 1975.

For more about the Bosworth-McNeish family, her son James McNeish has recently published Touchstones:  Memories of People and Placeborrowable copies are available from the library. There is a lovely photograph of his mother in her youth on page 184.

If you would like to listen to live music for free, there is a Thursday Lunchtime Concert Series at the Central Library during autumn. "This year’s concerts will bring together solo instrumentalists and vocalists, chamber ensembles and choirs from around the Auckland region, as well as showcasing the brilliant musical talent from the University of Auckland School of Music and selected secondary schools."

For more information on who is performing, click here.


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