Dora Bright

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Dora Estella Bright, married name Knatchbull, (16 August 1862 – 16 November 1951) was an English composer and pianist. She composed works for orchestra, keyboard and voice, and music for opera and ballet,[1] including ballets for performance by the dancer Adeline Genée.[2]


Bright was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire. While at the Royal Academy of Music during 1881–89,[2] her teachers included Walter Macfarren and Ebenezer Prout.[3] She was the first woman to receive the Charles Lucas Medal for musical composition, for her Air and Variations for String Quartet in 1888.[1] Her circle of close friends there included fellow students Edward German and his fiancée Ethel Boyce.[4]

In 1892 she married Wyndham Knatchbull (1829–1900), a captain of the 3rd Dragoon Guards and a great-grandson of Edward Knatchbull, 7th Baronet of Mersham Hatch.[5] Thereafter she lived at Babington House in Babington, Somerset.[6] From around this time she started to compose works for dramatic performances.[2]

She was also the composer for ballets created with Adeline Genée,[2] in a collaboration which also involved the designer C. Wilhelm. These ballets included The Dryad, La Camargo and La danse. As well as dancing these in London, Genée performed them during her successful tours of America, Australia and New Zealand.[7]

She died at Babington in 1951.[2] Many of her works have not survived.[8]


A woman in a white ballet skirt stands on the tips of her toes, arms extended upwards
Genée in La Camargo, c. 1912

Selected works include:


Piano with orchestra[edit]

  • Piano concerto No. 1 in A minor (1888)
  • Piano concerto No. 2 in D minor (1892)
  • Fantasia in G minor (1892)
  • Variations for piano and orchestra (1910)[2]


  • Concertstück for six drums and orchestra (c. 1915)[2]
  • Suite bretonne for flute and orchestra (1917)[2]




  1. ^ a b Fuller, Sophie (2001). "Bright (Knatchbull) Dora (Estella)". In Sadie, Stanley. New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 4. London: Macmillan. pp. 353–354. ISBN 0-333-60800-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Fuller, Sophie (2004). "Bright (married name Knatchbull), Dora Estella". In Matthew, H.C.G.; Harrison, Brian. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 7. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 617–618. ISBN 0-19-861357-1. OCLC 178927692. 
  3. ^ Burton, Nigel (1994). "Bright, Dora (Estella)". In Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian. New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. London: Macmillan. pp. 84–85. ISBN 0-333-51598-6. 
  4. ^ Rees, Brian (1986). A Musical Peacemaker: The Life and Work of Sir Edward German. Bourne End, Buckinghamshire: Kensal Press. p. 35. ISBN 0-946041-49-0. 
  5. ^ Mosley, Charles, ed. (1999). "Brabourne". Burke's Peerage and Baronetage 1. Switzerland: Burke's Peerage. pp. 348–349. ISBN 2-940085-02-1. 
  6. ^ Powell, Violet (1998). The Departure Platform: An Autobiography. London: Heinemann. pp. 25–26. ISBN 0-434-00507-X. 
  7. ^ Pritchard, Jane (2004). "Genée (married name Isitt), Dame Adeline". In Matthew, H.C.G.; Harrison, Brian. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 21. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 741–744. ISBN 0-19-861371-7. 
  8. ^ Fuller, Sophie (1994). Pandora Guide to Women Composers. London: Pandora. pp. 72–74. ISBN 0-04-440897-8. 
  9. ^ Lucas, John (2008). Thomas Beecham: An Obsession With Music. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-84383-402-1. 
  10. ^ "The Empire Theatre". The Times, 11 October 1910
  11. ^ "La Camargo". The Times, 21 May 1912
  12. ^ "Adeline Genée Presentation. Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 17/03/1912.". Metropolitan Opera House Archive. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Mlle. Genée In A New Ballet". The Times, 12 October 1915
  14. ^ "The Coliseum". The Times, 3 February 1933

External links[edit]