Maria Frances  Parke



     I. Biography

     II. Surviving Works

     III. Sources

I. Biography

Maria Frances Parke, or Miss M. F. Parke, later Mrs. Beardmore, was an English soprano, composer, and pianist. She was born on 26 Aug. 1772 in London, and died there on 31 July 1822. She was a member of a famous London musical family. Her father was the oboist John Parke (1745–1829); her uncle (John’s brother) was the oboist, composer, and commentator William Thomas Parke (1761–1847). She was taught by her father and played the harpsichord at his 1781 benefit concert when she was nine years old. At his benefit concert the following year she played a piano concerto by J.S. Schroeter and made her début as a singer. By the age of twenty she was a leading soprano soloist in concerts and oratorios in London and the provinces. In 1794 in the Hanover Square Room she sang at Haydn’s benefit concert and both played and sang at her own benefit concert, which Haydn directed from the piano. Miss F. Parke, who was her younger sister Francesca Margaretta Parke, sang at her benefit concerts in 1798 and 1799. Maria Frances Parke retired from public performance after her marriage to John Beardmore in 1815. 

As a composer she wrote attractive music for the amateur market and concert performance—piano sonatas (1799), songs, and vocal duets.

She has occasionally been confused with the pianist and composer Maria Hester Park, or Miss M.H. Park, née Reynolds (1760–1813).

II. Surviving Works

Three Grand Sonatas for the piano forte with additional keys, op. 1, 1799.

Two Grand Sonatas, for the Piano Forte ... and an accompaniment for the violin, ad libitum op. 2, 1800.

Vocal duet “God of slaughter, quit the field” [1806] 

Vocal duet “What is beauty,” [1810].

Song: “I have often been told and began to believe” 1787.

Variations on “O dolce concento” [“Das klinget so herrlich” from Mozart’s Die 

          Zauberflöte] [1830], for voice and piano.

III. Sources

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson. “Maria Francis Parke,” New Grove Dictionary of 

          Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. (London/New York 2001).

Barbara Garvey Jackson, “Say Can You Deny Me”: A Guide to Surviving Music by 

          Women from the 16th Through the 18th Centuries (Fayetteville, AR, 1994).