Williams, Grace (1906–1977)

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Williams, Grace (1906–1977)

Welsh composer . Born on February 19, 1906, in Barry, Wales; died on February 10, 1977, in Barry, Wales; educated at University of Cardiff, at the Royal College of Music, and in Vienna, Austria; studied with Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Grace Williams was born in 1906 in Barry, Wales, and attended the University of Cardiff before moving to London, England, early in her career to attend the Royal College of Music. While in London, she studied with composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who was by this time approaching his transitional period wherein he would move from being a traditionalist whose music reflected the English rather than European musical past, to a modernist concerned with expressing contemporary moral dilemmas. Williams also traveled to Vienna to study with Egon Wellesz, an Austrian protégé of Schoenberg who would flee to England and a position at Oxford in the wake of Nazi occupation. Her compositions were heavily influenced by both of these men, as well as by the work of Benjamin Britten, for whom she had a particular admiration. Among Williams' most noted compositions are Penillion, an early work for full orchestra that is based on Welsh barding songs and reflects the influence of Vaughan Williams; Sea Sketches (1944), a work for strings; and The Parlour (1961), a comedic opera that Williams composed 16 years before her death in 1977. Other works include a 1963 trumpet concerto, a symphony, and several works for both chorus and solo voice.

Pamela Shelton , freelance writer, Avon, Connecticut

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Williams, Grace (1906–1977)

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