Elizabeth Maconchy

Irish-British composer Elizabeth Violet Maconchy was born to Irish parents at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, UK on 19 March 1907. Her family moved back to Ireland when she was a young girl, and she began to learn music in Dublin. She studied with Charles Wood and Ralph Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music in London and then in Prague with Karel Boleslav Jirák.

Maconchy first came to public notice with her Piano Concerto, which Jirák conducted in Prague, and then her cantata The Land, conducted by Henry Wood at the London Proms. Her more than two hundred compositions include a cycle of thirteen string quartets, often regarded as the peak of her output.

In 1959 she became the first woman to chair the Composers Guild of Great Britain. Her circle of friends included Grace Williams - one of her fellow students in London - and Elisabeth Lutyens. One of her daughters, Nicola Lefanu, is also a composer.

Elizabeth Maconchy died in Norwich, UK on 11 November 1994, aged eighty-seven.


A selection of articles about Elizabeth Maconchy

Echoes of Oblivion by Robert McCarney - Four by Four by Five fff

CD Spotlight. Six Composers, Piano, Strings and Voice - Ona Jarmalavičiūtė listens to works by six female composers. '... performed profoundly ...'

Ensemble. Exuberance in Reserve - A wide-ranging programme from Christopher Stripp and Lucy Colquhoun, heard by Mike Wheeler

CD Spotlight. Fifty Years - Celebrating Lyrita's recordings of British music, by George Balcombe. '... a meticulous reproduction of orchestral sound ...'

Ensemble. Strength and Toughness - Independent Opera's 'Pelléas et Mélisande' impresses Robert Hugill

Ensemble. Great Delight - Robert Hugill discovers two operas by Elizabeth Maconchy