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- Elizabeth Lutyens -


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ELIZABETH LUTYENS - signed with a rather temperamental pen! She was born in London on 9 July 1906, one of five children of the Edwardian architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and his wife, Lady Emily Lytton. She began to study music in Paris in the early 1920s and became particularly enthusiastic about the music of Debussy. In 1926 she started studying composition and viola at the Royal College of Music in London. As a pioneer woman composer she was one of the first to adopt the twelve-note system in Britain at a time when this form was widely disliked and much misunderstood.
   Lutyens.jpg - 7656 Bytes The MacNaughton-Lemare concerts produced in conjunction with fellow student Iris Lemare and the violinist Anne MacNauton, presented the first performances of music by Elizabeth Maconchy, Alan Rawsthorne and Benjamin Britten.

   Lutyens married the singer Ian Glennie in 1933 and they had three children. In 1938, she left Glennie for Edward Clark with whom she had a son. Clark had been a producer with the BBC and a planner of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He resigned from the BBC in 1936. During WWII Elizabeth moved temporarily to Newcastle to avoid the London blitz. Back in London she took Dylan Thomas as a lodger into her home. It is said that, with friends such as Thomas and composer Alan Rawsthorne, she soon developed a serious drinking problem. She was also reputed to have been an eccentric dresser.

   Some of her early works were in the more traditional style but her later compositions were considered very avant-garde to the extent that the BBC would not accept them for performance on radio until the mid-1960s. She wrote six string quartets between 1937 and 1942, three works called 'Music for Orchestra' between 1955 and 1963, a 'Concert Aria' for high soprano and orchestra (1976), and a choral and orchestral work, 'Essence of Our Happiness' (1968). She died on 14 April 1983.



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