Powell, Laurence

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Powell, Laurence

Powell, Laurence , English-born American organist, conductor, teacher, and composer; b. Birmingham, Jan. 13, 1899; d. Victoria, Tex., Jan 29, 1990. He studied at Ratcliffe Coll., Leicester (1909–15), Ushaw Coll., Durham (1915–17), with Bantock at the Birmingham Midland Inst. School of Music (1919–22), and at the Univ. of Birmingham (Mus.Bae). In 1923 he emigrated to the U.S. and in 1936 became a naturalized American citizen. He completed his education at the Univ. of Wise. (M.A., 1926), where he also taught (1924–26). Subsequently he taught at the Univ. of Ark. (1926–34) and Little Rock Junior Coll. (1934–39). He was founder-conductor of the Little Rock Sym. Orch. (1934–39), and then conducted the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Federal Sym. Orch. (1939–41). After serving as organist at St. Mary’s Church in Victoria, Tex. (1947–52), he was organist and choirmaster at St. Francis Cathedral in Sante Fe (1952–68), where he also was founder-conductor of the Sante Fe Orch., later known as the Rio Grande Sym. Orch. (1953–55). He was organist and choirmaster at Assumption Church in Albuquerque (1968–70) and at Our Lady of Victory Church in Victoria, Tex. (1970–75).

Works

ORCH.: The Ogre of the Northern Fastness (1921); Keltic Legend (Bournemouth, Aug. 27, 1924; rev. version, Madison, Wise, May 20, 1931); Charivari, suite (1925); 2 syms. (1929, 1943); Suite for Strings (1931; Grand Rapids, May 9, 1940); Deirdre of the Sorrows (1933; Little Rock, March 18, 1937); The Country Fair, suite (1936); Picnic for Strings (Oklahoma City, March 21, 1936); Variations (Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 28, 1941); Duo concertante for Recorders and Orch. (1941); Penny Overture (1960); Overture on French Folk Tunes (1970); Oracle (1975). CHAMBER : Piano Quartet (1933); Quartet for Clarinets (1936); 3 recorder sonatinas (1977). VOCAL : Halcyone for Chorus and Orch. (1923); Alleluya, cantata for Chorus and Orch. (1926); The Seasons for Chorus (1928); The Santa Fe Trail for Baritone, Narrator, and Orch. (Santa Fe, April 22, 1958); masses; songs

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire