LeFanu, Nicola (Frances)

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LeFanu, Nicola (Frances)

LeFanu, Nicola (Frances), English composer and teacher; b. Wickham Bishops, Essex, April 28, 1947. She was the daughter of the medical historian William LeFanu and the composer elizabeth maconchy. Her mother was a major influence on her in her formative years. After initial training in composition with Jeremy Dale Roberts, she pursued her studies at St. Hilda’s Coll., Oxford (B.A., 1968; M.A., 1971) and at the Royal Coll. of Music in London (1968–69). In 1973-74 she held a Harkness fellowship and studied with Earl Kim at Harvard Univ. and Seymour Shifrin at Brandeis Univ. She was active in London as director of music at Francis Holland School(1969-72) and St. Paul’s Girls School (1975–77). In 1977 she became a senior lecturer at King’s Coll., Univ. of London. She became prof, of music and head of the music dept. at the Univ. of York in 1994. In 1979 she married David Lumsdaine , with whom she served as composer-in-residence at the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music in Sydney that same year. As a composer, she has won several honors, including the Cobbett Prize (1969), the BBC Composers Prize (1972), and the Leverhulme Award (1989). In 1995 she received an honorary D.Mus. degree from the Univ. of Durham and was made a fellow of the Royal Coll. of Music. In her works, she has developed a well- crafted style in which serial techniques are relieved by a deft handling of dramatic and lyrical writing.


dramatic:Anti-World, music theater (London, June 1972); The Last Laugh, ballet (1972; London, April 1973); Dawnpath, chamber opera (London, Sept. 29, 1977); The Story of Mary O’Neill, radio opera (1986; BBC, London, Jan. 4, 1989); The Green Children, opera (King’s Lynn, July 1990); Blood Wedding, opera (1991-92; London, Oct. 1992); The Wildman, opera (Aldeburgh, June 9, 1995). orch.:Preludio I for Strings (1967; London, March 1969; rev. as Preludio II, 1976; London, March 19, 1977); The Hidden Landscape (London, Aug. 7, 1973); Columbia Falls (Birmingham, Nov. 20, 1975); Farne (Bradford, March 28, 1980); Variations for Piano and Orch. (London, Dec. 31, 1982); Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Strings (1989; Kaustinen, Finland, Jan. 28, 1990); Concerto for Clarinet and Strings (1997); Duo Concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orch. (1999). chamber:Soliloquy for Oboe (1966; Oxford, March 1967); Variations for Oboe Quartet (1968); Abstracts and a Frame for Violin and Piano (London, Oct. 1971); Deva for Cello and 7 Players (London, March 23, 1979); Collana for Percussionist and 5 Players (Boston, April 25, 1976); Trio 1 for Flute, Percussion, and Cello (1980; London, June 15, 1981); SPNM Birthday Fanfare for 2 Trumpets (London, May 23, 1983); Moon Over Western Ridge, Mootwingee, saxophone quartet (Stuttgart, Nov. 6, 1985); Invisible Places, clarinet quintet (Southampton, June 4, 1986); Lament 1988 for Oboe, Clarinet, Viola, and Cello (London, March 30, 1988); 2 string quartets: No. 1 (Bedford, Oct. 13, 1988) and No. 2 (1996; London, April 1997); Lullaby for Clarinet and Piano (London, Oct. 20, 1988); Nocturne for Cello and Piano (London, Oct. 20, 1988); Ervallagh for Alto Saxophone (1993; London, Jan. 12, 1994); Sextet (1997). keyboard: piano:Chiaroscuro (1969; London, Feb. 1970). organ:Omega (1971; rev. 1984); A Little Sketchbook for Piano Duet (2000). vocal:II Cantico dei Cantici II for Soprano (1968; London, March 1969); But StarsRemaining for Soprano (1970; London, Feb. 1971); Christ Calls Man Home for 2 Sopranos and 3 Choruses (Cheltenham, July 4, 1971); Rondeaux for Tenor and Horn (London, Nov. 1972); Paysage for Baritone (Aldeburgh, June 21, 1973); The Valleys Shall Sing for Chorus, 2 Bassoons, 2 Trumpets, and 3 Trombones (Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Oct. 1973); The Same Day Dawns for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Violin, and Cello (Boston, Nov. 4, 1974); The Little Valleys for Women’s Chorus (1975); For We Are the Stars for 16 Solo Voices (1978; BBC, London, Sept. 30, 1982); Verses from Psalm 90 for Soprano and2 Choruses (London, Dec. 5, 1978); Like a Wave of the Sea for Chorus and Early Instruments (Nottingham, March 1, 1981); The Old Woman of Beare for Amplified Soprano and Orch. (London, Nov. 3, 1981); A Penny for a Song for Soprano and Piano (1981; Dublin, Jan. 8, 1982); Rory’s Rounds for Young Singers (1983); Trio 2: Song for Peter for Soprano, Clarinet, and Cello (London, March 3, 1983); Stranded on My Heart for Tenor, Chorus, and String Orch. (St. Alban’s, June 16, 1984); I am bread for Soprano and Piano (Brighton, May 21, 1987); Wind Among the Pines: 5 Images of Norfolk for Soprano and Orch. (Aldeburgh, July 31, 1987); The Spirit Moves for Chorus (London, Oct. 18, 1992); Sundari and the Secret Message for Storyteller, Flute, Cello, Sitar, Tabla, and Electric Keyboard (King’s Lynn, July 1993); La Caneton de la Luna for Countertenor and String Quartet (1993-94; Bristol, Feb. 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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LeFanu, Nicola (Frances)

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