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Grace Williams
Grace Mary Williams (February 19, 1906 - February 10, 1977) was a Welsh composer.

Born in Barry, Wales, she was educated at Barry County School, and won a scholarship to University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire. She then went to the Royal College of Music, where she was taught by Ralph Vaughan Williams. During the Second World War, the students were evacuated to Grantham in Lincolnshire, where Grace composed some of her earliest works, including the Sinfonia Concertante and her first symphony. During and after the war, she suffered from depression and other stress-related health problems. Having taught in London, she returned to Wales, where she worked for the BBC. One of her most popular works was her Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes (1940). In 1960-61 she wrote her only opera, The Parlour, which was not performed until 1966. In the same year, she turned down an offer of the OBE for her services to music.

BBC Radio 3 devoted their Composer of the Week segment to her during the second week of August 2006, which included several new performances of long-unperformed works, including her Violin Concerto.

Other works

  • Four Illustrations for the Legend of Rhiannon (1939)
  • Sea Sketches (1944)
  • The Dancers (1951)
  • Penillion (1955)
  • Symphony no. 2 (1956)
  • All Seasons shall be Sweet (1959)
  • Trumpet Concerto (1963)
  • Ave Maris Stella (1973)
  • Fairest of Stars (1973)

Only a handful of Williams' works have been recorded. Her Second Symphony, Penillion, Sea Sketches and Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes have been included in two Lyrita compilations, and several choral works, including Ave Maris Stella, were recorded for a Chandos Records collection.

Grace Williams left no autobiography, but a useful introduction to her work is

  • Boyd, Malcolm (1996). Grace Williams. University of Wales Press.
    ISBN 0-7083-1372-8.


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