Musgrave, Thea (1928–)
Musgrave, Thea (1928–)
Scottish composer and conductor. Born Thea Musgrave in Barnton, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 27, 1928; attended Moreton Hall, Shropshire; University of Edinburgh, BMus, 1950; studied with Hans Gal, Mary Grierson, and Sidney Newman, and at Paris Conservatoire with Nadia Boulanger and Aaron Copland; m. Peter Mark (violist and conductor), 1971.
One of the most important composers of 20th century, composed A Tale for Thieves, a ballet based on Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale (1953); wrote the large-scale composition Cantata for a Summer's Day, which proved to be her 1st major success at its premiere at Edinburgh International Festival (1955); wrote 1st short opera, The Abbot of Drimock, based on a Scots Border tale, and composed Five Love Songs for soprano and guitar (1955); during this period, was experimenting with both tonal and atonal music; composed Colloquy for violin and piano and Trio for flute, oboe, and piano (1960); received commissions from City of Glasgow, BBC, opera houses, ballet companies, and colleges; set out on new course with 1st full-length opera, The Decision, described as dramatic-abstract, which was hailed as a turning point in music when it was 1st performed (1967); followed this with Chamber Concertos No. 2 and No. 3 (1966); published Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1968); became interested in electronic music, making use of a prerecorded electronic tape in Beauty and the Beast, a 2-act ballet (1968–69); followed that with highly successful 3-act chamber opera The Voice of Ariadne (1972–73) which also used taped sound; made 8 broadcasts on UK's Radio 3, entitled "End or Beginning" (1973); composed and wrote libretto for 4th opera, Mary Queen of Scots (1975–77), which premiered at Edinburgh Festival; while living in US, wrote 6th opera, Harriet: A Woman Called Moses, focusing on Harriet Tubman, which premiered in Norfolk under husband Peter Mark's direction and was subsequently performed by Royal Opera in London; began conducting her own works; became the 3rd woman to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra and the 1st to conduct one of her own compositions; also conducted New York City Opera, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Became 1st British composer to win Lili Boulanger prize (1952); received Koussevitzky Award (1972).
See also Women in World History.