Vivian Virginia Brown

1902 - 1976

Vivian Brown was born in College Place, Washington, the second oldest of three daughters raised by their mother, Carrie, a grade school teacher. A 1922 graduate of the pianoforte program at Walla Walla College, now University, Vivian continued her study at the Malen Burnett School of Music in nearby Walla Walla for a year following graduation. At the end of that year she started her career as head of the piano department at WWC, a position she held until 1929. During that time Brown 0studied in the summers with Dent Mowrey, a noted piano teacher from Paris who had moved to Portland, Oregon.

Frances Irene, her sister, assisted in piano at WWC, following her graduation in 1926, when Vivian became ill. Frances continued to teach when her sister returned to teaching the following year. While working together they began playing duo piano music and, during their last year of teaching at WWC in 1928-1929, enjoyed considerable success giving joint recitals together. They were the first to teach in the new Johnson Memorial Conservatory at WWC, which had opened in the fall of 1928.

Eventually, the sisters resided in San Diego, California, where they resumed playing as a duo, performing often in the San Diego and Los Angeles area.


Sources: Interview with Vivian's sister, Frances Irene Brown Urner, 9 August 1990 and letter from her, 16 August 1990; Faculty biographies in the 1920s WWC yearbooks; 1920 U.S. Federal Census Records.