Holmès [Holmes], Augusta (Mary Anne)
- Karen Henson
(b Paris, Dec 16, 1847; d Paris, Jan 28, 1903). French composer of Irish parentage. She became naturalized French after 1871, when she adopted the distinctive accent in her name. Some of her early works were written under the pseudonym Hermann Zenta. She was brought up in Versailles and showed an early talent for music, poetry and painting. She was encouraged by her godfather, the poet Alfred de Vigny, one of several artistic personalities with whom her parents were in contact at the time. According to a rumour that Holmès did little to dispel in later life, he was also her natural father. Another rumour has it that the composer’s mother forbade her interest in music and that, despairing, the young girl tried to kill herself. She trained in the subject nonetheless: with ‘Mlle Peyronnet’, a local pianist (about whom little is known); Henri Lambert, organist of Versailles cathedral; and Hyacinthe Klosé....