COMPANION

Biography

Ron Murdoch (1941–2018), Canadian classical singer and teacher of the Alexander Technique. Ron Murdoch grew up in Nova Scotia. He studied music at Mount Allison University and through a grant went on to study singing in Montreal. He came to Europe at the age of 27 to study with Frederick Husler in Switzerland. (He later inherited the unpublished writings, recordings and drawings of Frederick Husler and Yvonne Rodd-Marling.) He moved to England which for many years would be his base for travelling and touring internationally as a soloist. He started having lessons with Betty...
Rosemary (‘Rome’) Roberts Earle (1929–2021), UK-born US teacher of the Alexander Technique. Life Rome Roberts Earle was the daughter of Dorothea Pyman Bell and Kenneth Bell. Rome Earle was introduced to the Alexander Technique by her mother, who travelled from Hull in Yorkshire to London to have a series of lessons from Marjory Barlow during WWII. When the family moved to London Rome also had some lessons with Marjory Barlow. Rome joined F. M. Alexander’s teachers training course for three months at the age of 15 or 16, but found it difficult to fit in, and...
Ruth Murray (1936–2021), British teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training. Ruth studied biodynamic farming and was at one time manager of Cranks vegetarian restaurant and health shop in Marshall Street in the London West End. She was an activist for compassion in animal farming. Ruth began lessons with Dilys Carrington in the early 1970s having long suffered from back pain caused by a spondylitic condition of her spine.[1] Ruth then trained with Walter and Dilys Carrington January 1977 to December 1979. Immediately after graduation she started teaching at the...
Saura Bartner, US teacher of the Alexander Technique. Life Saura Bartner received a master’s degree in Modern Dance Education from Columbia, and her B.A. in English from Rutgers University. In her early 20s she performed at the Louis Nickolais Dance Theater Lab. She started having lessons in 1971 and trained as a teacher of the Alexander Technique at the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York, qualifying in 1977. She taught in the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Providence, Rhode...
Shamsi Davis (†2010), UK Iranian-born teacher of the Alexander Technique. Shamsi Davis (Lady Colin Davis) was born Ashraf Naini, in Iran. She came to England in the early 1960s and in 1962 became an au pair in the household of the conductor Colin Davis (later Sir Colin, 1927–2013). They married in 1964, and had five children, several of whom became musicians.[1] [2] Shamsi was introduced to the Alexander Technique by Sir Colin and trained in the Alexander Technique with Misha Magidov, qualifying in 1993. She started teaching at the Royal Academy of Music in 1993, but...
Shmuel Nelken (1930–2015), first Israeli teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training. Life Shmuel Nelken was born in Berlin in 1930 and in 1933 came with his parents to Palestine. In his teens he studied piano and cello. He then studied agriculture, and became a founder member of a kibbutz. Realising agricultural life was not for him, he moved to Paris in the mid-1950s to study with the cellist Paul Tortelier. On a recommendation he went to London and had lessons with F. M. Alexander in 1954. As Alexander died soon afterwards Shmuel Nelken went on to train with Patrick...
Shoshana Kaminitz, Israeli born teacher of the Alexander Technique, who assisted Patrick Macdonald and continued his teacher training course. Life Shoshana Kaminitz was born in Israel. She trained with Patrick Macdonald 1960–63 and became his Assistant Director on his teacher training course in 1976. When Macdonald stopped training in 1987 due to ill health, Shoshana Kaminitz continued the course (renamed as the Victoria Training Course) in Belgrave Road, Victoria, until 2010.[1] Writings ‘Macdonald’s role’ by by Shoshana Kaminitz is a letter setting out...
Sir Charles Scott Sherrington (1857–1952), English neurophysiologist and supporter of the Alexander Technique. Life Sherrington became a doctor in 1886 and immediately started to specialize in physiology. He worked at the universities of London (1891–95), Liverpool (1895–1912) and Oxford (1913–35). He was knighted in 1922 and shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1932. Work Sherrington introduced fundamental terms and concepts in neuroscience. The importance of proprioception was demonstrated in 1894 with his findings that the nerve supply to...
Sir George Lowthian Trevelyan 4th Baronet (1906 –1996) was a British teacher of the Alexander Technique who went on to become a founding father of the New Age movement. Life The Trevelyans were an aristocratic family who claimed descent from Sir Trevillian, one of King Arthur's knights. Trevelyan studied at Sidcot School, a Quaker school in Somerset, and went on to reading history at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1928, during his university days, he started having lessons with F. M. Alexander. Trevelyan trained on the first training course 1931-34. However, he did not succeed...
Sir Richard Stafford Cripps (1889–1952), British politician, pupil and supporter of F. M. Alexander. A lawyer, Cripps entered Parliament in 1931 as a left-wing Labour MP, antiwar and pro-Soviet. He served as Ambassador to Moscow (1940–42) and later served in Winston Churchill’s wartime cabinet. He helped to coax Stalin into joining the Allied war effort and tried unsuccessfully to give independence to a united India. As Chancellor of the Exchequer (1947–50), he presided over the post-war austerity program. Cripps received a Knights Bachelor in 1931, hence he...
Sydney Holland (1908–1989), British teacher of the Alexander Technique. Life Sydney Holland was a manager in W. & T. Avery Ltd. (manufacturer of weighing machines), and he started having lessons with F. M. Alexander in 1939. Sydney joined Alexander’s teacher training course in 1945 while continuing to work for Avery’s. He qualified in 1949 (the extra year being due to an interruption in the training as Alexander suffered a stroke in 1948). He taught part-time as he continued working for Avery’s until his retirement in 1974, at which point he could teach full-time. He was chair of...
Tasha Miller (1954–2015), Indian born British teacher of the Alexander Technique. Life Tasha Miller was born in Sutna, India. The family moved in Swindon, England, in the late 1960s. She studied Fine Art at St. Martin’s in London before moving to study dance and drama at Dartington College of Arts in Devon. She started training as a teacher with Aksel and Jeanne Haahr in Totnes in 1979, qualifying in 1983. She set up practice in Cardiff and taught members of the then BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra and the Welsh National Opera. With other teachers she opened the Cardiff Centre...
Thomas Dennison Hall (1890–1963), South African agriculturalist, and a pupil of Irene Tasker. Life He obtained his degrees in agriculture at Illinois University (B.Sc.) and at Cornell University (M.Sc.). He worked for public institutions and private companies in South Africa on agricultural issues. During his time at African Explosives and Chemical Industries Ltd., he and his team made several discoveries, among them were important contributions to research into the fertilizing of veld and pastures. He was an active member of the South African Association for the Advancement of...
Troup H. Mathews (1916-2002), US teacher of the Alexander Technique and Head of Training in New York. Life Troup Mathews was born in Le Havre, France, and came to the US in 1935. He enlisted in the US Army in January 1941 and was stationed in North Africa. He was wounded in El Guettar, Tunisia, in April 1943, where his leg was amputated. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. In 1942 he married Alice Westfeldt (related to Lulie Westfeldt). Because he was the editor of the French section of the radio broadcasts ‘Voice of America’ he was investigated by Senator...
Vera Cavling (1920–2011), Danish teacher of the Alexander Technique. Life Vera Cavling, née Kjær, was very frail in her early youth, suffering from fatigue, insomnia and chronic headaches. She and her sister, Else Kjær, went to London in 1948 and had lessons from F. M. Alexander as well as several other teachers at Ashley Place. In 1950 Vera Cavling and her future husband, Jens Cavling, joined Marjory and Wilfred Barlow’s training course, the first training course not run by Alexander. This came to an end when Alexander discovered they were running a...
Viola Tree (1884–1938), English actress, singer, playwright, and pupil of F. M. Alexander. Life Tree was born in London, the eldest of three daughters of Herbert Beerbohm Tree and his wife, the actress Helen Maud Tree. Her aunt was author Constance Beerbohm and an uncle was Max Beerbohm. Tree made a successful London debut in March 1904 as Viola in Twelfth Night. For the next four years she appeared in her father’s productions at His Majesty's Theatre. In 1919, Tree took over the management of the Aldwych Theatre. Her last Shakespeare role was Helena in A Midsummer...
Waldo David Frank (1889–1967), American novelist, travel writer and essayist, a pupil of F. M. Alexander, and who was first married to Margaret Naumburg and later Alma Frank. Life Waldo Frank grew up in New York City, attended a college preparatory boarding school in Switzerland, earned a bachelor’s degree at Yale University, and then a Masters degree in 1911. He worked briefly for the New York Times, and spent a year in Paris 1913–14. In 1916 he became associate editor of The Seven Arts, an influential journal although it only ran for twelve issues. His first novel...
Walter H. M. Carrington (1915–2005), British teacher of the Alexander Technique. Walter Carrington was an inspirational teacher, founder of the Constructive Teaching Centre, and an influential writer on the Alexander Technique. Life Walter Hadrian Marshall Carrington was born in Selby, Yorkshire, in 1915, the only child of the Rev Walter Marshall Carrington. In 1917 the family moved to London where he spent the rest of his life. He attended St Paul's School. He had intended to join the Society of Jesus but he was so impressed by the lessons which his mother had taken in the...
Wilfred (‘Bill’) Barlow (1915–91), British doctor and teacher of the Alexander Technique. Wilfred Barlow was the first teacher to conduct research into the Technique, and author of the bestselling The Alexander Principle (1973). Life Wilfred Barlow trained with Alexander 1938-45. In 1940 he married Marjory Mechin, Alexander’s niece. Barlow qualified as a doctor in 1941 and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps 1942-46. As a principal witness he helped Alexander win the 1948 South African defamation case Alexander vs. Jokl et al, and wrote an article on the...
William James (1842–1910) was a famous American philosopher and psychologist, the ‘father of American psychology’. Among his most influential books is the two volume work, The Principles of Psychology (1890). Life William James was born in New York City. His father, a wealthy man, sent his children to European boarding schools and travelled widely in Europe with them. James first studied chemistry, then medicine. In 1865 he travelled with the biologist Louis Agassiz to the Amazon River basin to collect sample of species. In 1867 James studied physiology in Germany...

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