Margaret Lucy Wilkins

(b. 13 November 1939, Kingston upon Thames).

British composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, and vocal works that have been performed in the Americas, Asia and Europe.

Ms. Wilkins began composing at age twelve and studied composition with Gladys Puttick at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London from 1952–57. She then studied at the University of Nottingham from 1957–60, where she earned her BMus with honours, and where she later studied composition with James Fulkerson from 1986–89 and earned her AMusD in 1995.

Among her honours are First Prize in the competition for young composers of the New Cantata Orchestra of London (1970, for Concerto Grosso), the Scottish Arts Council Award for Composers (1970), the Cappiani Prize for Women Composers (1971, for The Silver Casket), First Prize in the competition for teaching music in Halifax, West Yorkshire (1973, for Instrumental Interludes), the Bursary for Composers from Arts Council England (1981–82, for Aspects of Night, Deux ex Machina, Lest We Forget, and Gitanjali), the Sandford Award for Heritage Education (1999, for Discover Oakwell), and the Miriam Gideon International Prize (2000, for Struwwelpeter). Her music has been performed in Brazil, Bulgaria, China, France, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the UK, and the USA, including twice at the ISCM World Music Days (1992, Warsaw; 2003, Ljubljana) and a portrait concert in Huddersfield (2000).

She is also active in other positions. She co-founded the Scottish Early Music Consort in 1969, in which she performed from 1969–76. She later founded the ensemble for contemporary music Polyphonia in 1989 and served as its artistic director from 1989–93. In addition, she often conducted the New Music Ensemble of the University of Huddersfield. She was a member of the executive committee of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters from 1972–78 and from 1986–92 and of the council of the Society for the Promotion of New Music in London from 1980–86, on which she has again served since 2003. Moreover, she served on the board of directors of the International Alliance of Women in Music from 1998–2002 and has been a member of the honour committee of the Fondazione Donne in Musica since 1998. She wrote the book Creative Music Composition: the Young Composer's Voice (Routledge, 2006).

She taught music theory and piano privately in St. Andrews from 1964–76. She lectured on composition and women in music at the University of Huddersfield from 1976–2003, where she also served as chair of the department of composition from 1990–2003 and as Principal Lecturer from 1999–2003. She taught as the Maude Clarke Visiting Professor at Queen's University Belfast in 1995.


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KANAŁ (environmental event, texts by Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, Bertolt Brecht, William Blake, John Milton; oboist moves around stage), oboe, 4 ensembles (in different locations) (6–12 actors, 12 or more mixed voices, 2 French horns, trumpet; 8 trumpets/cornets/flügelhorns, 3 trombones, 4 tenor saxhorns/baritone saxhorns/euphoniums, 3 tubas; any number of actors, fixed media; any number of dancers, tenor drum, 3 tambourines, fixed media) (with 2 conductors), 1990

Stringsing (dance music, choreography by Julie Wilson), fixed media, 1992

L'Attente (dance music, choreography by Julie Wilson), fixed media, 1994


Concerto Grosso, 1970

Dance Variations, harpsichord, 18 strings, 1973

Hymn to Creation, 1973

Music of the Spheres, large orchestra (68 players), 1975

Epistola da San Marco, brass band, 1987

Symphony, large orchestra (86 players), 1989

Musica Angelorum, 12 strings, 1991

Rituelle, 2 timpani, tubular bells, 6 ensembles (5 flutes; flute, clarinet, B-flat trumpet, trombone; 5 clarinets; 4 French horns; 3 B-flat trumpets; 3 trombones), 1999


Orpheus, violin, piano, 1973

Burnt Sienna: Etude for String Trio, violin, viola, cello, 1974

Circus, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, French horn, trumpet, violin, double bass, percussion, 1975

Aspects of Night, alto recorder (+ Garkleinblockflöte [very small recorder], soprano recorder, bass recorder), guitar/harpsichord, 1981

Aries, soprano recorder, 1984

Pirouette, oboe, 1985

Pas de Quatre, 4 oboes, 1985

Circuit, bassoon, piano, 1986

366", trombone, 1986

Rêve, Réveil, Révélation, Réverbérations, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, harp, guitar, 4 violins, cello, double bass, synthesizer, vibraphone, marimba, 1988

The Cello in my Life, cello, piano, live electronics, 1989

A Baker's Dozen, soprano recorder, piano, 1994

Trompettes de Mort, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, piano, 2002


Lecture on Nothing (text by John Cage), 7 speakers, 1973

Three Skelmanthorpe Carols, 4 male voices, 1980

Gitanjali (text by Rabindranath Tagore), mixed chorus, 1981

Lest We Forget (texts from the names of concentration camps of the Nazis), mixed chorus, live electronics, 1982

Playtime (texts by schoolchildren), children's chorus, flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, cello, double bass, piano, 1985 (also version for children's chorus, piano, 1985)

Revelations of the Seven Angels (texts from the plainsong Benedicamus Domino, motet Candida, plainsong Flos filius, anonymous 15th-century sources from the UK, motet Alleluia), 8 ensembles (soprano, string quartet; female chorus, harp, guitar; male chorus, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon; 2 soprano recorders, tuba, xylophone; 2 flutes, 4 violins, celesta, vibraphone; oboe, 6 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos; 2 French horns, 6 violins, 4 violas, 4 cellos, 6 double basses; 4 B-flat trumpets, 3 trombones), 1988

Ring Out, Wild Bells (text by Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Freshwater), mixed chorus, organ, 1997


Dieux est (texts from mediaeval sources), soprano, flute, harp, violin, percussion, 1970

The Silver Casket (text by Mary, Queen of Scots), soprano, harp, violin, viola, cello, 1971

Witch Music (texts from anonymous spells), mezzo-soprano (+ suspended finger cymbals), clarinet, trumpet, double bass, 1971

Struwwelpeter (text by Heinrich Hoffmann [anonymous translation]), soprano, 3 clarinets (any + E-flat clarinet, A-clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone), piano, percussion, 1973

Ave Maria, mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet, harp, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, 1975

L'Allegro (text by John Milton), countertenor, sopranino recorder (+ soprano recorder, alto recorder, bass recorder), harpsichord, 1977

The Tree of Life (texts by John Donne, Thomas Traherne, Edwin Muir, George Herbert, Walter de la Mare, Cursor Mundi, Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Freshwater, Henry Vaughan, William Butler Yeats, Robert Southwell, anonymous sources, Dame Edith Sitwell), tenor, baritone, bass, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion, 1979

Folkworks (texts from folksongs from the UK), countertenor/alto, cello, harpsichord, 1996

BallyMo (texts from anonymous sources from Ireland), medium voice, bass recorder (+ soprano recorder), 1998


Instrumental Interludes, 1973

Study in Black and White No. 1, 1983

Study in Black and White No. 2, 1992

Study in Black and White No. 3, 1995


Deus ex Machina, 1982

A Joyful Noise!, 1988


A Dance to the Music of Time, 1980


Music for an Exhibition (sound installation), 1970

Sci-Fi (sound installation), 1973

Discover Oakwell (sound installation), 1995

Fearful Apathy, fixed media (8 tracks), 1997


Deus ex Machina. Keith Jarvis, organ (Priory Records: PRC 239, 1988) (cassette)

Study in Black and White No. 1; Study in Black and White No. 2. Ananda Sukarlan, piano (Erasmus: WVH 139, 1994)

Struwwelpeter. Jane Manning, soprano; Matrix Ensemble (Music File, 1997) (cassette)

Musica Angelorum; Struwwelpeter; Burnt Sienna: Etude for String Trio; 366"; Symphony. Alison Wells, soprano; Barrie Webb, trombone; Firebird String Trio; Plamen Djouroff/Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra; Barrie Webb/Firebird, Filarmonica Banatul (Vienna Modern Masters: VMM 3055, 2003)

Revelations of the Seven Angels. Barrie Webb/Corul Filarmonicii Banatul, Filarmonica Banatul (Vienna Modern Masters: VMM 1055, 2004) (DVD)