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Thea Musgrave

Dates: May 27, 1928 -

Occupation: composer

"Music is a human art, not a sexual one. Sex is no more important than eye color." - Thea Musgrave

Thea Musgrave was born in Barton, Scotland. She studied at Edinburgh University, with Hans Gál, and in Paris at the Conservatoire with Nadia Boulanger. Her early works include The Suite o'Bairnsangs, a ballet A Tale for Thieves and an opera The Abbot of Drimock.

Her best known works include The Seasons, Rainbow, Black Tambourine (for female voices, piano and percussion) and operas The Voice of Ariadne, A Christmas Carol, Mary Queen of Scots, and Harriet: The Woman Called 'Moses.'

Her later work, especially, extends traditional boundaries, emphasizing abstract form and dramatic content.

A conductor as well as a composer, she has conducted in the United States and Britain. She has taught at London University, the University of California at Santa Barbara, New College, Cambridge, and Queen's University, New York. She is married to Peter Mark, conductor and general director of the Virginia Opera Association.

About Thea Musgrave

  • Categories: musician, composer, conductor
  • Places: Edinburgh, Scotland, United States
  • Period: 20th century

Also on this site

Print Bibliography

  • Musgrave, Thea, Elizabeth Maconchy and Elisabeth Lutyens. The Choral Music of Twentieth-Century Women Composers. 1997.
  • Hixon, Donald L. Thea Musgrave: A Bio-Bibliography. 1984.


  • Women of Note (CD)
  • Premiere Performances by Boston Musica Viva
  • Twentieth Century Settings

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Text © 1999-2006 Jone Johnson Lewis.

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