Blue plaque marks home of Mansfield Woohouse born world famous concert pianist

The life of one of Mansfield Woodhouse’s most famous sons struck a chord with history buffs.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 1:21 pm

The Old Mansfield Woodhouse Society unveiled a Blue Plaque honouring John Ogdon, one of the world’s most talented and renowned concert pianists and composers.

The society held a ceremony marking his birthplace at Auckland House, Welbeck Road, on Monday.

The unveiling was attended by members of the society, which commissioned the plaque on the Victorian property’s boundary wall, along with Mansfield Woodhouse Community Development Group.

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Old Mansfield Woodhouse Society's unveiling of a Blue Heritage Plaque in honour of John Ogdon the world renowned concert pianist.

John Andrew Howard Ogdon was born on January 27, 1937. He lived with his father, Howard, an English teacher at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Mansfield, mother Dorothy, sisters Pippa and Ruth and brother Karl.

He attended St Edmund’s School and from age four took lessons with Mansfield piano teacher Miss Nellie Houseley. The family moved to Manchester when he was eight.

Ogdon became famous as a musical genius, playing complex music by sight and committed a massive repertoire to memory. He married pianist Brenda Lucas in 1960, often attending recitals together.

Old Mansfield Woodhouse Society the unveiling of a Blue Heritage Plaque in honour of John Ogdon the world renowned concert pianist. Pictured by the plaque is Ann Sewell archivist of the society.

Among achievements, the gifted pianist won first prize at the London Liszt Competition in 1961, and joint first with Vladimir Ashkenazy at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, in Moscow in1962.

Ogdon composed hundreds of symphonies, piano works, chamber music, string quartets and concertos but in 1973 suffered a mental breakdown.

After treatment at the Maudsley Hospital, he made a comeback in the 1980s. Among performances he played in 1983, at the opening of the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham. He died of pneumonia aged 52, on August 1, 1989.

John Ogdon featured in the Chad years ago

The BBC made a film about his life; Virtuoso, based on his biography Virtuoso: The Story of John Ogdon, written by his wife.

Ann Sewell, the society's archivist said: "John Ogdon was something of a musical genius, he was a world renowned concert pianist and composer, born and bred in Mansfield Woodhouse and we wanted to commemorate his extraordinary life and talent with the plaque.”

The ceremony was the culmination of two years of work by the society, which keeps alive the heritage of Mansfield Woodhouse.

The group usually meet for talks at the Turner Memorial Hall, Church Street, on the last Monday of the month, at 7pm. (Except May and August). To join go to New members always welcome.

Next week look out for Ann Sewell’s fascinating long read about music genius John Ogdon’s extraordinary life in the Chad.

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