Born of British parents in the relative isolation of the South African city of Durban, Renna Kellaway went to Amsterdam to study piano with Johannes Röntgen, and on his recommendation continued with Franz Osborn, a protégé of Artur Schnabel, in London.
As a soloist and chamber musician she has performed, broadcast and given masterclasses widely in the UK, Europe, the Far East, Australasia, the USA and South Africa. As juror she has joined the jury panels of many international piano competitions throughout Europe and further abroad including the Leeds, Dudley, Royal OverSeas League (UK); Viotti, Ferruccio Busoni (Italy); Ankara (Turkey); ARD Munich, Robert Schumann, Tomasoni (Germany), Unisa (Pretoria), Vlado Perlemuter (France) and many others.
Teaching became a major commitment and led eventually to Renna joining the School of Keyboard Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1980, becoming Head of the School in 1992. She left the College in 2001. Her students have gone on to win awards and prizes, and many now follow distinguished international careers as soloists and chamber musicians. In 1995 Renna founded the biennial ‘Glories of the Keyboard’ Festival at the RNCM and introduced an intercollegiate Piano Trio competition in 1999 of which Trio Ondine from Denmark were the winners.
It was in 1985 that Renna founded Lake District Summer Music. Conceived to provide world-class performance combined with training talented young musicians, LDSM is now well established on the national and international musical calendar. Residential in the Lake District, LDSM plays a significant role on many fronts. With its heart in chamber music, the Festival is a welcomed and major attraction to tourists and visitors to Cumbria’s historically renowned and beautiful towns and countryside. The Academy attracts students from all over the world to study with the Festival artists who fulfil dual roles as performers and teachers. Renna has remained as LDSM’s Artistic Director and continues to teach on the Academy faculty.
Renna was awarded the MBE in 2009 for services to music and in 2012 was honoured by Cumbria Life as the winner of their Lifetime Achievement award. She emphasises how much she cherishes the influences and the inspiration she found in working with Johannes Röntgen and through him Clara Haskil, Osborn and later Vlado Perlemuter, Charles Rosen and Sir William Glock.
Renna Kellaway is married to Sir John Manduell CBE. The family moved north with four small children when John left the BBC following a distinguished career and becoming founder of ‘The Music Programme’ (now Radio 3). He became first Director of Music at Lancaster University, followed shortly after by his appointment as founding Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music.