TT he Living Composers Project  

Richter, Marga (b. October 21, 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 School of Music in Minneapolis from 1937-43 and piano privately with Countess Helena Morsztyn in New York from 1943-45. She also studied composition with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti and piano with Rosalyn Tureck at the Juilliard School of Music from 1945-51 and there earned her BS and MS.

Among her honors are annual awards from ASCAP since 1966, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1977, 1979) and numerous grants from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund, Meet the Composer, the National Federation of Music Clubs, and other organizations.

Ms. Richter is also active in other positions. With Herbert Deutsch, she co-founded 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.

Carl Fischer publishes most of her music.


E-mail address:

Street address: Ms. Marga Richter, 3 Bayview Lane, Huntington, NY 11743-1504, USA

Telephone: 631 421 1532


STAGE: Abyss (1 act ballet, choreography by Stuart Hodes), orchestra, 1964; Bird of Yearning (1 act ballet, choreography by Stuart Hodes), orchestra, 1967 (also concert versions for small orchestra [28 players]; piano); Riders to the Sea (1 act chamber opera, libretto by John Millington Synge), soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, 5 or more mixed voices, flute (+ piccolo, tin whistle), Celtic harp/harp, accordion, tubular bells (+ bodhrán), 2 violins, viola, 2 celli, 1996 (also version with string orchestra instead of 5 strings)

ORCHESTRAL: Concerto for Piano and Violas, Cellos and 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 piano work); Bird of Yearning, small orchestra (28 players), 1967 (version of ballet); Concerto No. 2, 'Landscapes of the Mind I', piano, large orchestra, 1968-74; Fragments, 1978 (version of piano work); Country Auction, symphonic band, 1976; Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit, 1976; Spectral Chimes/Enshrouded Hills, 3 quintets (flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon; French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba; string quartet, double bass), orchestra, 1978-80; Düsseldorf Concerto, flute, harp, viola, small orchestra (timpani, percussion, strings), 1981-82 (also chamber version); Out of Shadows and Solitude, large orchestra, 1985; Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark, 1991; Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach (concerto), violin, cello, piano, large orchestra, 1992

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 orchestral work); 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, string quartet, double bass), 1981-82 (version of orchestral work); Exequy, oboe, clarinet, cello, piano, 1983 (version of piano work); Seacliff Variations, violin, viola, cello, piano, 1984; Obsessions, trombone, 1986; Qhanri - Snow Mountain, 'Tibetan Variations', cello, piano, 1988; Elegy, flute/violin, guitar/piano, cello ad libitum, 1994; Air, oboe, bassoon, 2003 (also version for piano)

CHORAL: Three Songs of Madness and Death (text by John Webster), mixed chorus, 1955; Psalm 91, mixed chorus, 1963; Three Christmas Songs, children's/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), 6 mixed voices, 1981; Three Songs on Poems of 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 Chinese poets [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 Chinese poets [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 Eileen O'Leary), 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 (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 Ryokwan [translated by Jakob Fischer]), countertenor/alto, string quartet/piano, 2002

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 orchestral version as Eight Pieces for Orchestra); Fragments, 1963 (also orchestral version); Short Prelude in Baroque Style, 1974 (version of harpsichord work); Bird of Yearning, 1976 (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, 2003 (version of chamber work)

ORGAN: Variations on a Theme by Neithart von Reuenthal, 1974; Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark No. 2, 1992

HARPSICHORD: Soundings, 1965; Short Prelude in Baroque Style, 1974 (also version for piano)


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

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

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

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

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

Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach. Renata Knific, violin; Pamela Frame, cello; Robert Weirich, piano; Joel Suben/Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra (Leonarda: LE 351)

Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark; Spectral Chimes/Enshrouded Hills. Gerard Schwarz/Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (MMC: 2066)

Out of Shadows and Solitude. Gerard Schwarz/Seattle Symphony Orchestra (MMC: 2118)

Seacliff Variations. Sea Cliff Chamber Players (Musical Heritage Society: MHS 5512563L)

(Last updated on October 20, 2003)