Ivy Benson

(1913—1993) bandleader

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b. 1913, Holbeck, Leeds, Yorkshire, England, d. 6 May 1993, Clacton, Essex, England. An accomplished musician on piano, electric organ, clarinet and saxophone, Benson was the leader of a renowned all-female orchestra. Her father played several instruments in ensembles as varied as the Leeds Symphony Orchestra, theatre pit bands, and a comedy outfit, the Ten Loonies. Under his tuition, Ivy played the piano from the age of five, and, by the time she was nine, was performing on BBC Radio’s Children’s Hour, and in local working men’s clubs, where she was billed as ‘Baby Benson’. Her father wanted her to train to become a concert pianist, but she preferred to switch to clarinet, and then alto saxophone. In her teens she won a scholarship to the Leeds College of Art, and then worked in a factory for the men’s tailors, Montague Burton, while playing for dances and socials in her spare time. After spending three years with Edna Croudson’s Rhythm Girls, and touring with Teddy Joyce And The Girl Friends, Benson moved to London in the late 30s, and formed her own small groups. In 1940 she formed the nine-piece, Ivy Benson And Her Rhythm Girl Band, for the all-female revue Meet The Girls, which starred northern comedienne Hylda Baker.


From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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