The composer of my solo piece, Jamaican Rumba, was an Australian man called Arthur Leslie Benjamin. He was born in Sydney on the 18th of September 1893, to Abraham and Amelia Benjamin.
Amelia played the piano, a talent which she passed on to her son. At the age of six he made his first public appearance as a pianist. His formal music training began three years later with organist George Sampson. A few years later he began composing his own music.
Many women strongly influenced Arthur Benjamin and his writings, even though he was homosexual. RenÃÂ© Caprara played clarinet in the first band Benjamin performed in. Caprara's beautiful playing was the inspiration for Benjamin to write the 'Scherzo in B minor' for clarinet and piano. Benjamin partnered Harriet Cohen in performance of Bach's 'Concerto for two Claviers'. The same year, Benjamin wrote the solo piano 'Suite' and dedicated the first movement, 'Prelude' to her.
In 1935 he accompanied Lorne Munroe on a concert tour of England and Europe. Three years later he wrote the enchanting 'Sonatina' for her.
When the war came around, Arthur was admitted to the armed forces, against the will of all who knew him. He was assigned to the Flying Corps in 1917 and during a battle was shot down, suffering minor injuries. He was taken to the RÃÂ¼hleben camp in Germany to recover. During his time here, he was lucky enough to be allowed to continue practicing his music.
In 1938 he brought back a folk tune from a trip to the West Indies and transformed it into the famous 'Jamaican Rumba'. He also wrote two operas, which did reasonably well in their times.
Arthur Benjamin died at the age of 66 at the Middlesex Hospital from a reoccurring cancer. He did not mind...