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Jeffry R. Marlowe, part of a twin-brother duo-piano team that debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 11, dies at 81

Jeffry Marlowe, of Blue Bell, who debuted as a concert pianist with his twin brother Ronald when they were 11, died at home Saturday, July 24, at 81.

Jeffry Marlowe, 81, who performed with his twin brother Ronald Marlowe as part of the Marlowe Twins Duo Piano Team, died Saturday at his Blue Bell home.
Jeffry Marlowe, 81, who performed with his twin brother Ronald Marlowe as part of the Marlowe Twins Duo Piano Team, died Saturday at his Blue Bell home.Read moreCourtesy of the Marlowe family

Jeffry R. Marlowe, 81, a concert pianist who toured as part of a duo-piano team, died Saturday, July 24, of complications from lymphoma at his home in Blue Bell.

Mr. Marlowe and his identical twin, Ronald Marlowe, had their professional debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra when they were just 11 years old.

The twins performed concerts and appeared on popular television programs, including The Tonight Show, The Garry Moore Show, The Steve Allen Show, and The Milton Berle Show.

After graduating from college, they toured nationally and in Canada as the Marlowe Twins Duo Piano Team and were featured pianists with the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Marlowe and his brother began playing the piano at age 4. As children, they took private piano lessons at the home of Eleanor Sokoloff, the longtime piano professor at the Curtis Institute of Music, who died last year at age 106.

They also spent weekends traveling to New York to study with the concert duo-piano team of Pierre Luboshutz and Genia Nemenoff.

The brothers’ musical concert selections ranged from classical to popular music.

Mr. Marlowe was born July 28, 1939, in Westerly, R.I. to George Marlowe, a violinist and orchestra leader, and Natalie Lindenbaum Marlowe, an interior designer and artist.

Mr. Marlowe and his brother were born six weeks premature while their parents, who lived in Philadelphia, were on vacation. The brothers grew up in West Oak Lane.

Mr. Marlowe graduated from Germantown High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in music from Temple University in 1960. When he was a senior at Temple, he met Judy Newman, a freshman student and fellow music major, who would later become his wife.

They were married in 1965 and had two daughters.

Both brothers graduated from Temple with honors and continued their professional concert careers for 30 years. Later, they each began careers as piano teachers, the family said.

When Mr. Marlowe wasn’t touring, he took a very active role in his daughters’ lives, said his daughter Melissa Marlowe-Reiner.

“He was very involved in our day-to-day lives,” Marlowe-Reiner said. “He was extremely warm and loved to have fun with us, getting to know our friends and taking us to the park and the playground and flying kites.

“He was a great father and an amazing grandfather. His grandchildren lit up his life,” she said. He would travel to Connecticut to visit his grandchildren, not just for dance recitals or baseball or field hockey games, she said, “but for no reason, to take them out to lunch and to play with them.”

Added daughter Jen Marlowe: “He was just the gentlest human. He was warm, gentle, and loving.”

She said he enjoyed the simple things in life: “He loved fishing. He loved his kids and adored his grandchildren. Those were his pleasures in life.”

In addition to his wife and daughters, Mr. Marlowe is survived by three grandchildren, his brother, a nephew, a niece, and a host of other relatives and friends.

A funeral was held Tuesday, July 27, at Goldstein’s Funeral Home in Southampton. Interment was at Roosevelt Memorial Park.