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Thea Musgrave


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Thea Musgrave is a Scottish-born composer now living in the United States whose music is performed regularly on both sides of the Atlantic.

Born in Edinburgh on 27 May 1928, she studied at the University of Edinburgh then in Paris, where she spent four years as a pupil of Nadia Boulanger, before establishing herself in London with her orchestral, choral, operatic and chamber works. In 1970 she was named guest professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which anchored her increasing involve-ment with the musical life of the United States. In 1971 she married the American violist and opera conductor Peter Mark and she now lives in the US. In 1974 she received the Kousse-vitzky Award, resulting in the composition of Space Play. She has also been awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships, and was recognized with honorary degrees by Old Dominion University (Virginia), Smith College, Glasgow University and in 2004 the New England Conservatory in Boston. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2002. As Distinguished Professor at Queens College, City University of New York from September 1987 to 2002, she guided many young and gifted student composers.

Musgrave has consistently explored new means of projecting essentially dramatic situations in her music, frequently altering and extending the conventional boundaries of instrumental performance by physicalising their musical and dramatic impact.

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