NANCY Weir has been labelled as Australia’s greatest concert pianist.
Ironically the historic finds coincide with the fact her birthday would have fallen this week on July, 13. Nancy died on October, 14, 2008. As a child she called Lockhart in the eastern Riverina home.
Melbourne historian John Fleming said Nancy grew up in Lockhart and her parents ran a pub there. He believes few people would know of this link.
He said nancy learned to play the piano when she was just 18-months old.
Mr Fleming explained that as Nancy got older she could play any tune the patrons could name.
“Almost forgotten perhaps, yet she was probably Australia's greatest classical pianist and lived as a child in Lockhart,” he said. Nancy’s talents were more formally identified when she was 10. A Melbourne piano teacher visited her family for the Australia Day Exhibitions in the area.
Soon after Nancy began formal music studies with Ada Freeman and left Lockhart to continue her career at the Presentation Convent, Windsor in Melbourne.
Mr Fleming’s research found that toward 1929 the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Councillor Luxton, organised a public fund to finance Nancy’s study in Germany with Artur Schnabel.
“Her debut concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra when she was 13 saw her play Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 3,” he said after uncovering an old newspaper clipping.
An outstanding career in Europe and England followed through the 1930s and when World War II broke out, Nancy became a counter espionage spy for British Intelligence, even parachuting regularly behind enemy lines.