Discipline: Music Composition

Radie Britain

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: Smithville, IN
MacDowell Fellowships: 1935, 1936

Radie Britain (1899–1994) was an American pianist, writer, music educator, and composer who studied at Clarendon College in Texas, and at the American Conservatory in Chicago with Heniot Levy, graduating with a bachelor of music degree in piano in 1921. After completing her degree, Britain taught music for a year at Clarendon College and privately in Amarillo. In 1922 she studied with organist Pietro Yon in Dallas, in 1923 with Marcel Dupré in Paris, and in 1924 with Adele Aus der Ohe in Berlin and Albert Noelte in Munich. She made her debut as a composer in Munich in 1926.

She returned to Texas after the death of her sister, and later taught at the Girvin Institute of Music and Allied Arts in Chicago. Throughout her career she maintained a connection to Texas, and she incorporated into her compositions musical idioms from the Southwest. Among her orchestral works are "Southern Symphony" (1935), "Drouth" (1939), "Paint Horse and Saddle" (1947), "Cowboy Rhapsody" (1956), and "Texas" (1987). Britain's "Heroic Poem" (1929) won the Juilliard National Publication Prize in 1930.

She married Chicago businessman Leslie Edward Moeller in 1930 and had a daughter Lerae in 1932. The couple divorced in 1939, and she moved to Hollywood, California, and married Italian sculptor Edgardo Simone in 1940. After Simone died in 1949, Britain married aviation pioneer Theodore Morton in 1959. In California, Britain continued her career as a music teacher and composer.

Britain’s original papers are housed at the Indiana University School of Music and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. You can find many recordings of her works on YouTube.


New Jersey

Radie Britain worked in the New Jersey studio.

The yellow clapboard New Jersey Studio, located on a grassy, sloping site, was funded by the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs and built as an exact replica of Monday Music Studio (1913). The studio’s porch rests on fieldstone piers that increase in height as the ground slopes to the west. Like Monday Music Studio, New Jersey…

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