Dame Moura Lympany was one of the first in an internationally successful group of female British piano virtuosos to emerge in the twentieth century. She was born in Saltash, Devon, in 1916. Lympany showed unusual promise at the keyboard during her childhood, and began her formal training at the Liège Conservatory, in Belgium. Upon her return to England, she received an Ada Lewis Scholarship enabling her to continue her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, as a pupil of Coviello. Her other tutors included Paul Weingarten, Mathilde Verne, and Edward Steuermann, and Tobias Matthay, the last-named exerting the strongest influence upon her playing style was exerted by the German-born pedagogue Tobias Matthay.
Lympany's first solo appearance took place when she was 12 -- she performed Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1 at Harrogate, Yorkshire. In 1938, the jury of the Ysaÿe Piano Competition in Brussels awarded her second prize after Emil Gilels, though she was rated more highly than Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and several other famous pianists. In 1940, Lympany gave the British premiere of Aram Khachaturian's Piano Concerto in London. Always a pioneer of new works by British composers, she gave performances throughout the world of concertos by Delius, John Ireland, and Alan Rawsthorne. Dame Moura Lympany's many acclaimed recordings include the first-ever complete cycle of Rachmaninov's Preludes. She had a huge repertoire, which included more than 50 concertos. In 1991, Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame of the British Empire.