THE LIVING COMPOSERS PROJECT  

Marga Richter

(b. 21 October 1926, Reedsburg, Wisconsin).

American composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, vocal, and piano works that have been performed throughout the world.

Ms. Richter is the daughter of the soprano Inez Chandler-Richter (b. 1885 – d. 1956). She studied piano with Irene Hellner at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis from 1937–43 and piano privately with Helena Morsztyn in New York, New York from 1943–45. She then studied composition with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti and piano with Rosalyn Tureck at the Juilliard School in New York, New York from 1945–51 and there earned her BS and MS.

Among her honours are annual awards from ASCAP since 1966 and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1977, 1979). She is the subject of the book Marga Richter by Sharon Mirchandani (2012, University of Illinois Press).

She is also active in other positions. She co-founded with Herbert Deutsch the Long Island Composers Alliance in 1972 and has at various times served as its co-director, president and vice-president.

She is the mother of the pianist Michael Skelly.

Her primary publisher is Carl Fischer Music, though Shrewsbury Press is the publisher of many recent works.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Website: http://www.margarichter.com/

SELECT LIST OF WORKS

STAGE:

Abyss (ballet in 1 act, choreography by Stuart Hodes), orchestra, 1964

Bird of Yearning (ballet in 1 act, choreography by Stuart Hodes), orchestra, 1967 (also concert versions for small orchestra [28 players]; piano)

Riders to the Sea (chamber opera in 1 act, libretto by John Millington Synge), soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, 5 or more mixed voices, small orchestra (flute [+ piccolo, tin whistle], clàrsach [harp from the UK]/harp, accordion, tubular bells [+ bodhrán (frame drum from Ireland)], 2 or more violins, 1 or more violas, 2 or more cellos), 1996

ORCHESTRAL:

Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Violas, Cellos and Basses, piano, small orchestra (4 or more violas, 4 or more cellos, 1 or more double basses), 1955

Lament, string orchestra, 1956

Aria and Toccata, viola, string orchestra, 1957 (also version for viola, piano)

Variations on a Sarabande, 1959

Eight Pieces for Orchestra, large orchestra, 1961 (version of Eight Pieces, piano)

Bird of Yearning, small orchestra (28 players), 1967 (concert version of ballet)

Concerto No. 2, 'Landscapes of the Mind I', piano, large orchestra, 1968–74

Country Auction, symphonic band, 1976

Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit, 1976

Fragments, 1978 (version of work for piano)

Spectral Chimes/Enshrouded Hills, 3 ensembles (flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon; French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba; 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass), orchestra, 1978–80

Düsseldorf Concerto, flute, harp, viola, small orchestra (timpani, percussion, strings), 1981–82 (also version for flute, harp, viola, ensemble [timpani, percussion, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass])

Out of Shadows and Solitude, large orchestra, 1985

Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark No. 1, 1991

Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach (concerto), violin, cello, piano, large orchestra, 1992

Kyrie, string orchestra, 2004 (also version for 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass)

CHAMBER MUSIC:

One for Two and Two for Three, 3 trombones, 1947, revised 1974

Sonata, clarinet, piano, 1948

Aria and Toccata, viola, piano, 1957 (version of work for viola, string orchestra)

String Quartet No. 2, 1958

Ricercare, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1958 (also version for French horn, 2 trumpets, tuba, 1958)

Darkening of the Light, viola, 1961 (also version for cello, 1976)

Suite, violin, piano, 1964

Landscapes of the Mind II, violin, piano, 1971

Pastorale, 2 oboes, 1975

Landscapes of the Mind III, violin, cello, piano, 1979

Sonora, 2 A-clarinets, piano, 1981

Düsseldorf Concerto, flute, harp, viola, ensemble (timpani, percussion, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass), 1981–82 (version of work for flute, harp, viola, small orchestra [timpani, percussion, strings])

Exequy, oboe, clarinet, cello, piano, 1983 (version of work for piano)

Seacliff Variations, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1984

Obsessions, trombone, 1986

QhanriSnow Mountain, 'Tibetan Variations', cello, piano, 1988

Elegy, flute/violin, guitar/piano, cello ad libitum, 1994

Air No. 2, oboe, bassoon, 2003 (version of Air No. 1, piano)

Kyrie, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, 2004 (version of work for string orchestra)

Divers (Diverse) Divertimento, flute, oboe (+ English horn), guitar, 2005

Threnody, violin, viola, cello, 2006

Trio, alto saxophone, baritone horn, piano, 2006

Fandango Fantasy, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, 2007

Serenade, flute, harp, percussion, 2007

Summer Reveries on a Mountainside, clarinet, 2009

Serenade, guitar, piano, 2010

Ode to the Grand Canyon, 2 oboes, 2011

Gygue, 2 oboes, 2012

CHORAL:

Three Songs of Madness and Death (text by John Webster), mixed chorus, 1955

Psalm 91, mixed chorus, 1963

Three Christmas Songs, children's chorus/female chorus, 2 flutes/piano, 1964

Seek Him (text from the Book of Amos), mixed chorus, 1965

To Whom? (text by Virginia Woolf), mixed chorus, 1980

Do Not Press My Hands (text by Gabriela Mistral [English translation]), 6 mixed voices, 1981

Three Songs on Poems of Emily Dickinson (text by Emily Dickinson), 4 female voices, 1982

Into My Heart (texts by Robert Frost, A. E. Housman, R. Glenn Martin, Cathleen Schurr, Maureen Skelly, Walt Whitman), mixed chorus, oboe, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, baritone horn, tuba, violin, timpani, percussion, 1990 (also version for mixed chorus, piano 4 hands, 1990)

VOCAL:

Jabberwocky (text by Lewis Carroll), speaker, piano, 1941

Transmutation (song-cycle, texts by poets from China [translated by Henry Hersch Hart]), soprano, piano, 1949

Into What Unknown Chamber (text by Phyllis Roberts), medium voice, piano, 1950, revised 1983

Two Chinese Songs (texts by poets from China [translated by Amy Lowell]), soprano, piano, 1953

She at His Funeral (text by Thomas Hardy), soprano, piano, 1954

Lament for Art O'Leary (text by Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill), soprano, piano, 1984

Sieben Lieder (text by Francisco Tanzer), voice, piano, 1985

Sarah Do Not Mourn Me Dead (text by Sullivan Ballou), medium voice, piano, 1995

Erin Odyssey (14 limericks, text by the composer), medium voice, piano, 2000

Testament (text by Anne Morrow Lindbergh), alto, English horn, piano, 2001

Dew-drops on a Lotus Leaf (song-cycle, text by Ryōkan [translated by Jakob Fischer]), countertenor/alto, string quartet/piano, 2002

Bye-Bye Bake Shoppe (text by Elisabeth T. Raine), speaker, string quartet, 2005

Three Songs of Celebration (text by Phyllis Roberts), tenor, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), piano, 2005

Goat Songs (6 songs, text by Marcia Slatkin), medium voice, piano, 2006

Two Sonnets (text by William Shakespeare), tenor, piano, 2007

Wild Moon (text by Phyllis Roberts), tenor, piano, 2009

PIANO:

Ballet of the Pixilated Penguins, 1944

Variations on a Theme by Latimer, piano 4 hands, 1952, revised 1964

Melodrama, 2 pianos, 1953, revised 1958

Sonata for Piano, 1954

Eight Pieces, 1961 (also version as Eight Pieces for Orchestra, large orchestra)

Fragments, 1963 (also version for orchestra)

Short Prelude in Baroque Style, 1974 (version of work for harpsichord)

Bird of Yearning, 1976 (concert version of ballet)

Remembrances, 1977

Requiem, 1978

Exequy, 1980 (also version for oboe, clarinet, cello, piano)

Prelude for Piano (in memoriam), 1993

Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark No. 3, 1993

Air No. 1, 2003 (also version as Air No. 2, oboe, bassoon)

Three Improvisations, 2004

Grave, 2005

Regrets, 2005

Not Your Grandmother's Four-Hand Piece, piano 4 hands, 2006

Four Miniatures, 2007

Soliloquy, 2010

Shrewsbury: Summer of 2011 (suite), 2011

ORGAN:

Variations on a Theme by Neidhart von Reuental, 1974

Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark No. 2, 1992

HARPSICHORD:

Soundings, 1965

Short Prelude in Baroque Style, 1974 (also version for piano)

DISCOGRAPHY

Sonata for Piano. Richard Zimdars, piano (Albany Records: TROY 1310)

String Quartet No. 2. Meridian String Quartet (Capstone Records: CPS-8692)

Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark No. 2. Barbara Harbach, organ (Gasparo Records: GSCD 294)

Lament. Carolann Martin/Bournemouth Sinfonietta (Leonarda Productions: LE 327)

Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit. Harold Farberman/London Philharmonic Orchestra (Leonarda Productions: LE 331)

Exequy (original version); Fragments (original version). Nanette Kaplan Solomon, piano (Leonarda Productions: LE 334)

Qhanri, 'Tibetan Variations'; Requiem; Landscapes of the Mind II. Daniel Heifetz, violin; David Wells, cello; Marga Richter, Michael Skelly, pianos (Leonarda Productions: LE 337)

Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach. Renata Artman Knific, violin; Pamela Frame, cello; Robert Weirich, piano; Joel Eric Suben/Narodowa Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia w Katowicach (Leonarda Productions: LE 351)

Riders to the Sea; Kyrie (second version). Susan Holsonbake, soprano; Anna Tonna, mezzo-soprano; Melissa Maravell, alto; Aram Tchobanian, tenor; Paweł Knapik, double bass; Daijiro Ukon/Motýl Chamber Ensemble (Leonarda Productions: LE 358)

Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark No. 1; Spectral Chimes/Enshrouded Hills. Gerard Schwarz/Symfonický orchestr Českého rozhlasu (MMC Recordings: 2066 [partially reissued as Ravello Records: RR7867])

Out of Shadows and Solitude. Gerard Schwarz/Seattle Symphony Orchestra (MMC Recordings: 2118 [partially reissued as Ravello Records: RR7867])

Seacliff Variations. Sea Cliff Chamber Players (Musical Heritage Society: MHS 512563L)

Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark No. 1; Spectral Chimes/Enshrouded Hills; Out of Shadows and Solitude. Gerard Schwarz/Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Symfonický orchestr Českého rozhlasu (Ravello Records: RR7867 [partial reissue of MMC Recordings: 2066, MMC Recordings: 2118])