Discipline: Music Composition

Louise Talma

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell fellowships: 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995

Louise Talma (1906–1996) was an American composer. She was raised in New York and studied at the Institute of Musical Arts (Juilliard School) from 1922 to 1930. She received her bachelor of music degree from New York University and master of arts degree from Columbia University. She studied with Isidor Philipp at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, and with Nadia Boulanger every summer from 1926 to 1939. She taught at Hunter College of the City University of New York. She began composing in a spare neoclassical tonal style featuring static harmonies, short distinct melodies in counterpoint, ostinatos, and pedal points varied through mode, tempo, rhythm, meter, and articulation. Also featured were rhythmic units varied through imitation, augmentation, and diminution. She began using the 12-tone technique in 1954 after hearing Irving Fine's String Quartet, and returned to a neo-tonal style in her last works of the 1980s and 1990s. She wrote most of her compositions at MacDowell where she also met composers of the "Boston School" such as Arthur Berger, Lukas Foss, Irving Fine, Alexei Haieff, Harold Shapero, and Claudio Spies. She provided a bequest for $1 million for MacDowell in her will.

Studios

Phi Beta

Louise Talma worked in the Phi Beta studio.

Funded by the Phi Beta Fraternity, a national professional fraternity of music and speech founded in 1912, Phi Beta Studio was built from 1929–1931 of granite quarried on the MacDowell grounds. The small studio is very simple in design, but displays a pleasing combination of materials with its granite walls and colorful slate roofing. Inside is a…

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