Joan Trimble

Irish composer and pianist Joan Trimble was born on 18 June 1915. She was first noticed as half of a piano duo (active from about 1925 until 1970) with her sister Valerie Trimble (1917-1980), and she wrote several pieces for two pianos which the Trimble sisters performed.

A native of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Joan Trimble studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, and toured as pianist with the tenor John McCormack. Academic degrees at Trinity College Dublin and piano classes with Arthur Benjamin at the Royal College of Music in London were followed by composition studies with Herbert Howells and Vaughan Williams.

Her rather conservative compositions include a Phantasy Trio (1940), with which she won the Cobbett Prize, Erin go Bragh (1943), a brass band rhapsody commissioned by the BBC, and Blind Rafferty (1957), the first opera written for TV by a female composer.

Marriage (1942) and children restricted her work as a composer, but she taught piano (1959-77) at the Royal College of Music.

Trimble returned to live in Ireland in 1967, following her father's death, travelling to teach in London, nursing an invalid husband and taking over the management of her father's newspaper, Enniskillen's Impartial Reporter, a family-owned business since 1825.

Joan Trimble died, aged eighty-five, on 6 August 2000, following a short illness, two weeks after her husband's death.