Last week, as one of Aiglon's regular meditations, students had the privilege to listen to Madame Jones perform. Madame Fanni Leslie Jones retires from Aiglon this year after working as a music teacher for almost twenty years. She began her career at Aiglon aged 70, when most people are well into their retirement. She does not give solo performances anymore, but was persuaded into singing for the School by Mr. Gaston as a way to celebrate and recognise her retirement.
On the days she teaches, Madame Jones would commute from her home in Geneva via bus, train and another bus to take her lunch at School and then continue up to the John Corlette Building where she held her lessons. It is an impressive commute for an 88 year old, and we have been honoured to have her with us.
Below is an excerpt written about her unique career from the United States to Switzerland.
"Arriving in Geneva in 1955, Miss Fanni L. Jones continued her musical study which she had begun in 1951 at the Juillieard School of Music in New York under Hardesty Johnson, and at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J. with the direction of Lorene Hodapp.
Miss Jones was born in Plainfield, N.J., USA as one of nine children in a musical family. Up to the time of her graduation from high school, she had only a few voice lessons. She grew up in modest circumstances where there was little thought of music as a career. However her remarkable talent soon was recognized by her friends who formed the « Fanni Jones Benefit Club » and organized a series of concerts for her, the proceeds of which enabled her to begin her formal studies.
Thanks to the assistance of the American Educational Foundation in Geneva, she continued her studies in Europe, where through the inspiration and training of Prof. Fernando Carpi, she attained the First Prize for Virtuosity of the Conservatory of this city. In 1958, she was awarded the prize of the Concours International d'Execution Musicale de Genève.
She continued her studies with Ria Ginster and Stefania Gessler, specializing in the study of German Lieder music. She has received enthusiastic acclaim on her numerous concert tours, public recitals, and her programs on radio and television not only in Switzerland, but also in Belgium, France, Monte Carlo, Germany and the USA. Her programmes would include some Spirituals in which she excels, is made up of the works of classical composers, such as: Handel, Bach, Purcell, Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mendelssohn, the romanticists: Schumann, Brahms, Schubert, Wolf, Mahler, etc. as well as some modern works. Of these, some are with full orchestral accompaniment."