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date: 05 March 2021

McBurney, Mona (Margaret)locked

  • Faye Patton

Extract

(Margaret)

(b Douglas, Isle of Man, July 29, 1862; d Melbourne, Dec 4, 1932). Australian composer. She received early musical training in Edinburgh with MacKenzie before emigrating to Australia with her family. Her brother, Samuel McBurney, completed the doctorate in music in Dublin and became an authority on solfège. She studied at the University of Melbourne (BMus 1896), becoming the first female graduate in music. Her early distinction as a composer grew with the completion of her opera, The Dalmatian, which gained her a reputation as the first Australian woman opera composer. From 1918 she taught languages at the University Conservatorium, Melbourne, as well as teaching the piano privately. At the time of her death she had completed 40 works.

McBurney was drawn to Nordic and classical themes in her programmatic and vocal music. Her larger-scale compositions reveal a mixture of influences, including 19th-century German Romanticism and English choral music. Her songs, written in the style of the English and French art song, and her idiomatic piano pieces were well known during her lifetime; ...

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Australian Dictionary of Biography (Melbourne, 1966-96)
Parkville, Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne