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date: 22 August 2019

Branscombe, Genalocked

  • Laurine Elkins-Marlow

Extract

(b Picton, ON, Nov 4, 1881; d New York, July 26, 1977). American composer and conductor. She studied at the Chicago Musical College with Rudolph Ganz (piano) and Borowski (composition), twice winning the gold medal for composition (1901, 1902). After a year of further study in Germany, which included lessons with Humperdinck, she moved in 1910 to New York and in the 1920s studied conducting with Chalmers Clifton and Stoessel. She was active in women’s arts organizations and as a choral conductor, notably of the Branscombe Choral (1933–54), a women’s chorus for which she composed and arranged many works and commissioned works by other women composers.

A tireless advocate of contemporary music, she was awarded the annual prize of the League of American Pen Women for the best work produced by a woman composer (Pilgrims of Destiny, 1928, concerning the pilgrim fathers). Many of her songs and other choral works were also inspired by historical events. Textual expression is of prime importance in her works and is achieved through an emphasis on late Romantic, richly textured harmony. Branscombe’s most important orchestral work is ...

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