Career Regarded as Simply a Job By Frances Nash, Capital Pianist


Career Regarded as Simply a Job By Frances Nash, Capital Pianist






1935 January 9


A brief biography of professional pianist, Frances Nash who is married to White House chief military aide Edwin M. Watson.


Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Virginia




MOST PEOPLE believe an artistic career, matrimony, and social pursuits are as difficult to blend as oil and water. But not so with Frances Nash, who will make her first public appearance here Thursday as guest soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra.

“I think of my career as simply a job,” she said yesterday in her apartment at the Kennedy-Warren. “Each day I devote between four and five hours to practicing and then the rest of my time is my own to come and go as I please.

“Why should this be so difficult to combine with other phases of my life?” she continued. “After all, just look at the numbers of women in Washington who work all day and still have a home and a full social calendar.”

Miss Nash broke down another general idea when she described her practice hours. Unlike the cinema or story book artist who retires far from bedlam and surrounds herself with still, unbroken silence, this young Washington woman regards her living room as her studio and is unperturbed by the presence of others.

Miss Nash, who in private life is the wife of Col. Edwin M. Watson, chief military aid at the White House, came much into the limelight lately when Mrs. Roosevelt, who wanted to hear her play, changed the date of the White House dinner for the Vice President so that it would not conflict with Miss Nash’s appearance with the National Symphony.

Miss Nash, who has played many times with great European and American orchestras, has often been referred to as one of the best-dressed women on the concert stage.

She expressed surprise, but admitted she did take great pains to select her costumes for public appearance.

“My first consideration, of course,” she explained, “is the comfort of the dress. I can’t play well in one that bothers me because it’s too tight or too baggy. And, of course, womanlike, if I feel that the lines are bad, that disturbs me, too.

“Consequently I always have my dresses fitted sitting down so that the profile from the audience will be correct. Once a friend of mine sent me a simply stunning dress from Paris that was much pleated around the waist and skirt. It was lovely as long as I was standing, but when I sat down it bulged in all the wrong places.”

Miss Nash began her musical studies in this country and then continued them more extensively in Europe.

In her last European tour she maintained her headquarters at Brussels, where Col. Watson was military attache at the American Embassy. It was during this stay that a strong friendship developed between Miss Nash and Queen Elizabeth of Belgium because of the queen’s enthusiasm for the young artist’s playing.

Original Format





Unknown, “Career Regarded as Simply a Job By Frances Nash, Capital Pianist,” 1935 January 9, WWP16768, Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.