English pianist, composer and conductor Gwendolen Avril Coleridge-Taylor was born in South Norwood, Surrey on 8 March 1903. She was the daughter of composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and his wife Jessie Walmisley, who had met as students at the Royal College of Music.
Gwendolen studied with Alec Rowley and Gordon Jacob at Trinity College of Music. She made her formal conducting debut at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1933. She became the first female conductor of the HMS Royal Marines and frequently guest-conducted the BBC Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. She founded the Coleridge-Taylor Symphony Orchestra and Musical Society.
As a composer she became known as Avril Coleridge-Taylor and wrote keyboard works, songs, chamber music and large-scale orchestral works.
Avril Coleridge-Taylor died in Seaford, East Sussex on 21 December 1998, aged ninety-five.
There are signs of a revival of interest in her music during the 21st century.