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Studying in Oxford and London

Donald Macleod hears from British composer Nicola LeFanu about how she was inspired by the music of Alexander Goehr.

British composer Nicola LeFanu talks to Donald Macleod about being inspired by the music of Alexander Goehr

Composer Nicola LeFanu has been at the heart of British contemporary music for several decades, and at the forefront of promoting the works of her fellow women composers. In 2017 LeFanu turns seventy, and in conversation with Donald Macleod she looks back at her distinguished career including commissions from many leading artists. LeFanu also chats about some of the composers who have influenced her including her mother Elizabeth Maconchy, and also her husband David Lumsdaine.

Nicola LeFanu was born into a creative environment. Her father was the scholar and writer William LeFanu, and her mother the composer Elizabeth Maconchy. LeFanu didn't set out to be a composer and initially was more interested in the theatre. One seminal moment came when she heard music by Alexander Goehr, The Deluge. LeFanu subsequently started to compose more works, whilst her musical language changed. From this point onwards she received tuition from various composers, including Jeremy Dale Roberts and then Alexander Goehr. LeFanu didn't remain long studying with one person for as she puts it, she didn't want to be told the answers but instead find these out for herself. Her first critical success was a work for solo oboe called Soliloquy, which was published whilst she was still studying at Oxford. From there LeFanu went on to the Royal College of Music, and after this made her way in London as a freelance composer.

A Penny for a Song (Seas are Wild Tonight)
Tracey Chadwell, soprano
Pamela Lidiard, piano

But Stars Remaining
Alison Smart, soprano

Jeremy Dale Roberts: Winter Music
Odaline de la Martinez, conductor

Nicola LeFanu: Soliloquy
Jinny Shaw, oboe

The Same Day Dawns
Jane Manning, soprano
Kathryn Lukas, flute
Ian Mitchell, clarinet
Adrian Levine, violin
David Smith, cello
James Wood, percussion
Nicola LeFanu, conductor

Producer Luke Whitlock.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 24 Apr 2017 18:30

Music Played

  • Nicola LeFanu

    Seas are wild tonight

    Performer: Pamela Lidiard. Singer: Tracey Chadwell.
  • Nicola LeFanu

    But stars remaining

    Singer: Alison Smart.
    • Metier: MSVCD92025.
    • Metier.
    • 21.
  • Jeremy Dale Roberts

    Winter music

    Ensemble: Lontano. Conductor: Odaline de la Martinez.
    • The Music of Jeremy Dale Roberts.
    • Lotelt.
    • 1.
  • Jinny Shaw


    • Metier:MSVCD92064.
    • Metier.
    • 9.
  • Nicola LeFanu

    The Same Day Dawns

    Performer: Kathryn Lukas. Performer: Ian Mitchell. Performer: Adrian Levine. Performer: David Smith. Performer: James Wood. Singer: Jane Manning.
    • Chandos: ABR1017.
    • Chandos.
    • 1.


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