Nelson  and  Neal


Allison Nelson and Harry Neal were an Australian-American duo piano couple performing throughout the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. They went on to teach at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where Allison is professor emeritus in piano. They published the Nelson and Neal Piano Study Series (12 books of piano studies) for their children, and a book about their years on the road as traveling performers: Wave As You Pass by Harry Neal, 1958 (now out of print). The Neals and their three children, John, Kathie, and Elise were featured on This is Your Life in 1958, where they received an Edsel station wagon as a gift. Ironically, Harry always said that Edsel was the best car he ever owned.

Allison was a native of Adelaide, Australia. A child prodigy in piano, she was well known throughout Australia at a young age. Harry grew up in Paris, Tennessee, the son of William Fisher Neal, who was a prominent lawyer and politician in Henry County, Tennessee. They were married on New Year's Day, 1949 on Endsmeet Farm, just outside of Philadelphia.

Allison and Harry both studied piano at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Allison is one of few students to ever be accepted into Curtis without an audition. Eugene Ormandy, who had seen her playing while visiting Australia, arranged for her to have a place there after seeing her perform. While there Allison was a student of Rudolf Serkin, and Harry was a student of Isabelle Vengerova.

Harry and Allison spent time in 1950 in Adelaide after her national tour with the Australian Broadcasting Commission, living with her family. It was then that they decided to end their solo careers and become a permanent two piano duo before returning to the United States in mid-1951.

Harry died in 1968 of an apparent heart attack. Allison completed her career as a professor of piano at UTM.

While at UTM, Dr. Allison Neal founded the UTM Piano Ensemble. In 2006, it is still active under the direction of Dr. Elaine Harris, who for many years performed with Dr. Nelson.

Reprinted from Wikipedia
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Allison Nelson Neal,  photographed
at the Paris  Civic Center
March 10,  2002.

Harry  Neal
1943 Interclass


The dynamic classical piano duo of Nelson and Neal, their two grand pianos and children loaded in vans, toured the nation, released records, and inspired throngs. The country applauded them when they were saluted on the old "This Is Your Life" television series. Harry Neal died prematurely, in 1968, but his widow played on, performing in the old hometown and teaching in The University of Tennessee, Martin, music program.

If anyone has other photos of these two dynamic musicians we
would love to add them to the Grove site.