Dorothy Howell

One of the few composers in my collection that doesn’t get a mention in the New Grove. She was named Dorothy Gertrude Howell when born in 1898, in Birmingham. She received private composition lessons from Granville Bantock, before moving on to study at the Royal Academy of Music. She had a tone-poem (Lamia) performed at the Proms in 1919 and won the Cobbett prize in 1921 with a Phantasy for violin and piano (a later winner of that same prize was one Benjamin Britten!). For a while, she achieved fame as ‘the English Strauss’ (presumably Johann, not Richard?), but appears to have concentrated on music teaching (at the Royal Academy and then at the Birmingham Conservatoire) for most of her life. Accordingly, she fell from the public spotlight and most of her music is now largely forgotten.

She died in Malvern in 1982, aged 83 -and the mention of Malvern might make you think of Elgar. She did apparently tend Elgar’s grave for a long time, and ended up being buried near him.

A 2010 report in a Birmingham newspaper indicated that the local music archivist had re-discovered a stash of documentation about Dorothy and some scores, preserved by her relatives. This doesn’t appear to have triggered a full-on Dorothy Howell renaissance, however: at the last check, there were just two or three CDs available of her work that aren’t the ‘Lamia’ tone poem.


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Music Plays from my collection
(since January 9th 2021)

Date of PlayTime of PlayGenreCompositionLength
Date of PlayTime of PlayGenreCompositionLength