Sidonie Goossens, Harpist and Last of a Distinguished Musical Family, Is Dead At 105
Thursday, December 16, 2004
LONDON ó Sidonie Goossens, a harpist and the last survivor of a musically distinguished quartet of brothers and sisters, has died, her family said Wednesday [15 December]. She was 105.
Goossens died in her sleep at her home, the family said. The cause of death was not announced. She was principal harpist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1930 until her retirement 50 years later.
In 1924, according to Grove Music Online, she became the first harpist to broadcast a harp solo. In 1936, she was the first harp soloist to appear on television.
At age 91 in 1991, she became the oldest person to perform at the Last Night of the Proms concert, televised by the BBC.
Her father and her grandfather, both named Eugene, were principal conductors of the Carl Rosa Opera Company. Her sister Marie, who died in 1991, was also a harpist and held a succession of posts with British orchestras.
Her brother Leon, who died in 1988, was a renowned oboe player, and commissioned works from composers that included Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Another brother, Eugene, who died in 1952, directed symphony orchestras in Rochester and Cincinnati in the United States, and later was chief conductor of the Syndey Symphony Orchestra in Australia.
A third brother, Leon, who played French horn, was killed in World War I at age 20. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.
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