Catharina Pratten (1821-1895)
A gifted musician, unrivaled teacher and true friend.
A guitar adorns the grave of German-born musician, composer and teacher Catharina Josepha Pratten (nee Pelzer), also known as Madame Sidney Pratten.
Aged just eight, Catharina toured Europe playing the guitar with her music teacher father, Ferdinand. By 20, she was considered London’s most prominent guitar teacher, and taught Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise, Princess of Wales, to play.
Catharina founded a guitar school, and wrote music designed to appeal to her pupils and other amateur players. Indeed, she dedicated many of the pieces she wrote and published to the society women of London. She also wrote and performed incredibly complex and challenging pieces on the guitar.
Catharina married flautist, Sidney Pratten, in 1854, and described the years she spent with him as ‘heaven on earth’. Despite struggling to compose for a time after Sidney’s death, she wrote, performed and taught for the rest of her life.
Her monument, paid for by pupils and friends, describes her as ‘a gifted musician, unrivaled teacher and true friend’.