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date: 20 October 2019

Rofe, Esther (Freda)locked

  • Pauline Petrus

Extract

(Freda)

(b Melbourne, March 14, 1904; d Melbourne, Feb 26, 2000). Australian composer. She studied the piano and violin privately from the age of four and began her musical career playing in the Melbourne SO, conducted by her mentor, Alberto Zelman, at the age of 13. At the age of 18 she began working as a piano accompanist. As a composer she was largely self-taught. After private tuition from A.E. Floyd and Fritz Hart, she attended the RCM as a part-time student (1933–6), where she was significantly influenced by Gordon Jacob, Arthur Benjamin, R. O. Morris, Howells and Vaughan Williams. She achieved considerable success with her ballet scores, of which the best-known, Sea Legend (1935–43), became the first Australian ballet to enter the repertory of an overseas company. She was also a gifted arranger and worked in the commercial field for the ABC in Melbourne and the Colgate Palmolive Radio Unit, Sydney. Her music is strongly influenced by narrative ideas and encompasses a wide range of genres. It incorporates free counterpoint, modality and the English pastoral style. Recognition for her efforts came belatedly in the 1990s....

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