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date: 03 April 2020

Franchi, Dorothea Annelocked

  • J.M. Thomson

Extract

(b Auckland, Feb 17, 1920; d Aug 22, 2003). New Zealand composer, pianist and harpist. Her early training in piano and singing was followed by a BMus from the University of Auckland in 1939. She became a music specialist in schools, then from 1948 studied the harp, composition and piano accompaniment at the RCM, London, where she won the Tertis Prize for her Rhapsody for viola and orchestra in 1950. In 1953 she became pianist and musical director for Poul Gnatt’s newly formed New Zealand Ballet Company for whom she wrote Do-Wack-a-Do (1960), a piece evocative of the frenetic gaiety of the 1920s (she once commented that the syncopated rhythms of ragtime and jazz ‘have stayed with me all my life’). From an early romanticism she moved through more severe chromaticism towards atonality. She later came to describe herself as ‘a neo-romantic’. It was as a spirited original that she made her mark on New Zealand music....

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