Peter Dawson

Peter Dawson (1882 – 1961) singer
Peter Dawson’s parents encouraged his appreciation of music, and when 8 he sang as a boy soprano at a social at the College Park Congregational Church, St Peters, and was later in the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church choir. For all his success as a concert singer, the gramophone record made Dawson’s a household name in many countries; he was one of the first artists to have faith in the process.

Peter Dawson, singer, was born on 31 January 1882 in Adelaide, youngest of nine children of Thomas Dawson, ironworker and plumber, and his wife Alison, née Miller. Peter attended the East Adelaide Primary School and Pulteney Street Grammar School, and was then apprenticed to his father.

His parents encouraged his appreciation of music, and when 8 he sang as a boy soprano at a social at the College Park Congregational Church, St Peters, and was later in the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church choir. When 17 he began taking singing lessons from C. J. Stevens and sang at concerts with the Adelaide Grand Orchestra. In 1900 he was a soloist in their performance of Handel’s Messiah, was successful in several local contests, and won the bass solo section at the South Street Competitions, Ballarat, Victoria. Next year he won an amateur boxing championship.

In 1902, encouraged by Stevens, Dawson went to London and studied with B. L. Bamford, (Sir) Charles Santley, the eminent baritone, and Professor Kantorez. His first engagement was at a church in the East End for a fee of 7s. 6d. He was soon touring in the west of England with the popular concert and opera singer Madame Albani, and singing in London at the Crystal Palace and Queen’s Hall promenade concerts. On 20 May 1905 he married Annie Mortimer Noble, a soprano with the stage name of Annette George. They had no children and often toured together internationally until a serious car accident ended her public career.

In 1908 Dawson was principal baritone at the Chappell ballad concerts. Next year he sang in The Mastersingers of Nuremberg at Covent Garden and joined Amy Castles and her company in touring Australia. Back in London he extended his repertoire from ballads and operatic arias to include German lieder and French songs. Leading reviewers of his 1911 concerts agreed that he was the finest English baritone of the day. Dawson was in Australia during World War I; in 1918 he enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force, but did not serve overseas.

For all his success as a concert singer, the gramophone record made Dawson’s a household name in many countries; he was one of the first artists to have faith in the process. In 1904 he made a test record for the Edison Bell Phonograph Co., and later in the year began his fifty-year career for His Master’s Voice which spanned recording techniques from the two-minute cylinder to the long-playing disc and tape.

Survived by his wife, he died on 27 September 1961 in Sydney; after a funeral at St David’s Presbyterian Church, Haberfield, he was buried in Rookwood cemetery.

Source : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080270b.htm

Refer also : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Dawson
which notes, In 1984, Dawson was chosen by the Guinness Book of Recorded Sound as one of the top 10 singers on disc of all time, alongside such luminaries as Elvis Presley and Enrico Caruso.

A collection of Peter Dawson recordings in .MP3 format and other material from the
Australian National Film and Sound Archive http://colsearch.nfsa.afc.gov.au (search for Peter Dawson)

One excerpt from the above > Peter Dawson singing Waltzing Matilda, Audio .MP3 3.34 MBs : http://colsearch.nfsa.afc.gov.au (search for Peter Dawson)

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