York Bowen (1884-1961)

York Bowen

The prodigious gifts of York Bowen were widely recognised when, at the age of 19, he was invited to play his First Piano Concerto at the Proms under the baton of Henry Wood. His skills as a performer continued to draw praise till the end of a long career as soloist, accompanist, teacher and adjudicator. In contrast, his compositions were unjustly disregarded even during his own lifetime, on account of his unequivocally romantic style that was at odds with the many changes of twentieth-century musical fashion.

With hindsight, and the aid of fine modern recordings, opinions have changed. Like his near-contemporary the Russian Nikolay Metner, Bowen is now recognised without prejudice as an heir to the great tradition of nineteenth-century pianist-composers, and his music admired for its exquisite craftsmanship and refined sensibility. Quality is never sacrificed to display, however brilliant its virtuosity; and its range of expression – from gaiety and good humour to mystery and pathos – is characteristically English in its idyllic conception, unclouded by introspection.


Bowen’s insights into keyboard playing are enshrined in The Simplicity of Piano Technique, a still influential essay by one of Tobias Matthay’s outstanding students. As a song-writer and composer of chamber music, his legacy awaits reassessment within a larger picture that year on year is moving towards a more balanced and complete appraisal.

Bowen titles published by Stainer & Bell

These titles can be ordered in our online shop where you will also find prices and further information.

In Print

Simplicity of Piano Technique. (Ref. 15003)

String Quartet No. 2 in D minor. Score and Parts (Ref. AC160) [PDF sample]

From the Archives...

The following titles by York Bowen are not in our current sales catalogue, but are available to special order as authorised photocopies through our archive library. They are now available through ouronline shop.

Allegro Scherzando in F. Piano Solo (Ref. 38724)
No 1 of "Spare Moments" Book 1 Op1a
Arabesque Op.20 No.1. Piano Solo (Ref. 53175)
Curiosity Suite. Piano Solo (Ref. 53176)
A farewell word; Caprice, for the right hand only; Nocturne, for the left hand only; Prelude, on white notes only; The Futuristic Piece; The Piece in 7 and 5 time; The Piece in older style.
Idyll Op.97. Piano Solo (Ref. 53182)
Partita. Op 156. Piano Solo (Ref. 53178)
Gavotte; Gigue; Minuet; Prelude; Saraband
Two Pieces. Piano Solo (Ref: 35151)
Caprice, for the right hand only; Nocturne, for the left hand only
Reverie d'amour Opus 20 No 2 (Ref. 53722)
Romance in G flat Op 35 No. 2. Piano Solo (Ref. 39693)
Second Romance for Piano Op 45 (Ref. 53638)
Siciliano and Toccatina Op. 128. Piano Solo (Ref: 54195)
Three Songs without Words Op 94
. Piano Solo (Ref. 53179-81)
Song of the Stream; Solitude; The Warning
Suite Mignonne Op.39. Piano Solo (Ref. 53177)
Moto Perpetuo; Prelude; Valse
Suite No.2 Op.71 (Three Pieces). Piano Duet (Ref. 51680)
Allegro; Barcarolle; Moto Perpetuo
Suite in Three Movements Op 52. Piano Duet (Ref. 49560)
Dance; Nocturne; Prelude
Ten Tests for Musical Initiative and Intelligence (Ref. 35152)



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