English composer, conductor, oboist, pianist and teacher Ruth Gipps was born in Bexhill-on-Sea on 20 February 1921 into a musical family. She was a child prodigy, winning performance competitions whilst considerably younger than the other competitors. She studied at the Royal College of Music - oboe with Léon Goossens, piano with Arthur Alexander and composition with Gordon Jacob and Ralph Vaughan Williams - and then at Durham University, becoming an accomplished all-round musician. A shoulder injury ended her performance career, so she decided to concentrate on composition.
She suffered discrimination at the hands of the male-domainated classical music world, particularly in terms of her compositions, and this caused her to develop a rather tough personality that could be off-putting.
She founded the London Repertoire Orchestra and the Chanticleer Orchestra. She taught at Trinity College, London, at the Royal College of Music and at Kingston Polytechnic, and became chairwoman of the Composers' Guild of Great Britain.
Her music was conservative, pastoral, Romantic and tonal in nature, strongly influenced by Vaughan Williams, Arthur Bliss, Malcolm Arnold and George Weldon, and she was critical of contemporary trends such as serialism.
Ruth Gipps retired to Sussex and died on 23 February 1999, aged seventy-eight.
CD Spotlight. A Magnificent CD - Geoff Pearce listens to music by Ruth Gipps. 'The BBC Philharmonic responds magnificently ...'
CD Spotlight. Important Women Composers - British music by Ethel Smyth, Susan Spain-Dunk, Constance Warren and Ruth Gipps, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... performances of the highest calibre, combining irrepressible beauty and fragility with technical mastery that brings out all the suavity of these sophisticated creations.'
CD Spotlight. Dazzling Symphonies - Symphonies by Ruth Gipps, recommended by Roderic Dunnett. 'It conveys as much energy and artistry and expressiveness today as it did the day it was written.'