Blue plaque honour for Joan Trimble, ‘doyenne of Irish composers’

The blue plaque for Joan Trimble will be unveiled at the offices of The Impatial Reporter in Enniskillen
The blue plaque for Joan Trimble will be unveiled at the offices of The Impatial Reporter in Enniskillen

One of the most distinguished Ulster musicians of the 20th century, who also managed a well-respected family newspaper, will be honoured with a blue plaque from the Ulster History Circle this week.

Joan Trimble, who died at the age of 85 in 2000, was a composer, teacher, concert pianist and proprietor of The Impartial Reporter for 33 years. The blue plaque in her memory will be unveiled on Thursday evening at the newspaper’s offices in Enniskillen.

Mrs Trimble has been described as the “doyenne of Irish composers” and a pianist of distinction. In 1938, along with her sister Valerie, she formed a two-piano ensemble, encouraged by the late conductor and composer, Arthur Benjamin, going on to become household names for some 40 years.

After the outbreak of World War Two, they were among the first artists to be engaged by the BBC when restricted music broadcasts began again and contributed to these programmes throughout the war.

The sisters, who volunteered as Red Cross nurses, made their London Proms debut with Sir Adrian Boult in 1943.

Mrs Trimble was educated at Enniskillen Collegiate School, becoming its first head girl in 1931. As an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin, she also studied piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and attained her Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music in London.

When her father WE Trimble died in 1967 she took over as managing director of The Impartial Reporter, commuting fortnightly from London to Enniskillen. In the 1970s she retired from music to Enniskillen with her husband to devote herself fully to the newspaper.

She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Queen’s University in 1985 and the Joan Trimble Bursary Awards were set up in 2002 to encourage young people in the performing arts.