Max Darewski was a celebrated music prodigy born in Manchester in 1894 to a musical family who had originally came from Minsk the capital of the pre-WW2 landlocked Republic of Belarus. At the time it was still part of the Russian Empire.
Max’s father was Edouard Darewski and was a Polish singing professor in Minsk. His older brother Herman Edouard (1883-1947) was a noted composer born in Minsk and became Bridlington’s Musical Director in East Yorkshire and also for a time at Blackpool and London. He went on to have a very successful career writing a string of popular songs, including composing the music for ‘Whispering,’ an international hit of 1920 which inspired George Gershwin and Dizzy Gillespie. Herman married actress and singer Madge Temple in 1914.
From a very early age it was apparent that Darewski was very musically gifted and by 7 years old he composed ‘England’s Crown’ to mark the Edward VII Coronation in 1902 and two years later on turning 9, he conducted a full orchestra playing his own compositions to an audience in Bournemouth.
In 1905 Darewski was at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park conducting the massed bands at the 5th National Brass Band Festival. It was also at this time that Max began touring around Europe as a pianist.
In his short adult life, Darewski composed many popular songs and music for various shows including Suzette which played to audiences at the West End Globe Theatre on the corner of Rupert Street and Shaftsbury Avenue, London in 1917. The Globe (not to be confused with Shakesphere’s Globe Theatre) was renamed the Gielgud Theatre in 1994 in honour of renowned British actor, John Gielgud.
Darewski went onto marry London-born stage and film actress Ruby (Laura Rose) Miller (Darewski was her long-time sweetheart) in 1929, at a time when it was well reported that he had finanical difficulties and in 1929. However, the marriage was to last just 5 months as Darewski died prematurely at the young age of 35.
(Brass Band Archive 2008). (2008). National Brass Band Championships – 1900 – 2010. Available: http://www.brassbandarchive.com/Libraries/BBA%20-%20Contest%20Archives%20-%20National%20Champs.pdf. Last accessed 24th Aug, 2011.
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