Urner, Catherine Murphy
- Elise Kirk
(b Mitchell, IN, March 23, 1891; d San Diego, April 30, 1942). American composer and singer. At the University of California, Berkeley, she won the first George Ladd Prix de Paris, enabling her in 1920 to go to Paris to study composition with Koechlin, who considered her remarkably gifted. From 1921 to 1924 she was director of vocal music at Mills College, Oakland, California. She was active as a composer and singer in the USA, France and Italy, and first performances of her music were given in Paris by the Société Musicale Indépendante and at the Salle Pleyel. A talented singer, she specialized in Amerindian melodies, which she used in many of her compositions to create a stark, poetic effect. Through her teaching Urner transmitted the classical French heritage of Koechlin; she translated several of his treatises and arranged for him to give lectures in California. Koechlin regarded her as influential upon his own modal–contrapuntal style. She collaborated with him on various works and he orchestrated her ...