Obituary: Inge Henderson

Inge von Scheye Koromle, therapist, born Innsbruck Austria 6 March 1920, married 1940 William Henderson (two daughters; marriage dissolved 1963), died London 4 September 1992.

Inge Henderson was a teacher of the Alexander Technique, working particularly with musicians, in England and abroad for nearly 30 years.

She was born in Innsbruck, the second daughter of Baron Frederick von Scheye Koromla, a writer from a Jewish legal and banking family, and Annie Schindler, a leading classical actress with the Burgteater before the First World War, who was Alma Mahler's cousin. Inge grew up among writers and musicians, speaking German, English, French and Italian. Her parents parted and in 1932 her mother, unhappy with the rigidities of rank and worried by the rise of Nazism, took the three children first to Italy and France and then to England to be educated.

Inge qualified as a dietician, then met Bill Henderson, an architect, and they married in 1940. He was sent almost at once to the Middle East for four and a half years. Inge meanwhile began to study medicine at Oxford, then worked for the US army as a lab technician. In the late Forties her daughters Tessa and Kathy were born. She had always sung and when she was able to visit Austria again for the first time she began to study singing more seriously. For some years she would visit Austria for lessons, though she found it hard to combine a singing career with her home life. In London she continued to collect people round her, half adopting other children and filling the house with music and musicians.

In the early Fifties she met Bill and Marjorie Barlow and discovered the Alexander Technique, a way of making people aware of what they are doing wrong with their bodies so they needn't do it, releasing muscles that are unnecessarily stressed and distorted. At first Inge went for help with problems she had discovered singing and playing the violin, and later took her daughters for lessons. After an operation for osteomyelitis, Tessa was enabled by Bill Barlow to walk without a limp in defiance of medical opinion. Inge began training with Marjorie Barlow as an Alexander teacher in the early Sixties. In 1963, she and Bill Henderson were divorced.

The careers she had begun in medicine and music fed into this new work. She broke new ground in finding ways of bringing the technique to musicians. In the Seventies she spent summers at the musical festival at Barga in Italy, living in a tent and workirg with the opera-singers. More recently she worked with the choral scholars at Eton and King's. She taught non-musicians too, and in several countries, so that she was able to combine her knowledge of languages and love of travel with her work. And teaching drew on her enormous energy and love of people.

A brilliant teacher, she was always wanting to learn. She saved lives. She slid down banisters. She went trekking in Katmandu. Something of the use she could make of Alexander, and her own spirit: though terminally ill she wanted to be in the open air and till five days before she died she was camping in an orchard in Norfolk. She'll stay present to her pupils, of whom I was one, for a long time in their sense of their own bodies. She was an adventurous and generous woman.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?