> DORA BRIGHT (1863-1951): COMPOSER Appeal for information






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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

DORA BRIGHT (1863-1951): COMPOSER

Can anyone help trace the music and papers of the composer Dora Bright? Dora Bright made quite a reputation in the 1890s and appeared as soloist in several of her own works for piano and orchestra. She was the first woman composer to have a work played by the (Royal) Philharmonic Society when she was the soloist in her own Fantasia in G in 1892. Mann’s conducted her Piano Concerto No 1 in A minor at Crystal Palace when it was fresh from triumphs in Cologne, Dresden and Leipzig. Even George Bernard Shaw was almost admiring when he wrote: ‘her concerto is remarkable – apart from its undeniable prettiness – for its terse, business-like construction and its sustained animation’.

From the Women’s Grove one can see that she produced quite a catalogue of works, but all that can now be traced are the ten items now in the library of the Royal Academy of Music, thought this does include the manuscripts of two of the pieces for piano and orchestra, including one of her concertos. She became Mrs Knatchbull in the 1890s, but although she was long a very active composer and musician, her will makes no mention of her music, her copyrights or her professional name (as Dora Bright). The National Register of Archives does not know her, and very few libraries have even one published item by her. If any reader has any ideas about finding her music, her papers or her family, I would be please to hear from them.

Also another successful woman composer born in the nineteenth century, Katharine Eggar, who did not die until 1961 – in particular can anyone locate her Piano Quintet which had a number of successful performances during the First World War? If you can help, please e-mail via the editor, Rob Barnett. rob.barnett@ukgateway.net

LEWIS FOREMAN


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