Esther Rofe

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Esther Rofe (1904 – February 2000) was an Australian musician and composer.


Esther Rofe was born in Australia. She studied piano and violin with Alberto Zelman, Jr., Fritz Hart and A.E. Floyd and appeared with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at age 13. She entered the Royal College of Music in London and studied with Gordon Jacob, Ralph Vaughan Williams and R.O. Morris.[1]

During World War II Rofe worked at the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), and the Colgate-Palmolive Radio Unit in Sydney where she began arranging and composing music. Rofe began composing for ballet in 1943. The Esther Rofe Songbook was published in Melbourne in December 1999.[2]

Rofe and her sister Edith moved to Southport where Rofe lived and worked for twenty years by the sea. She never married, but fostered a child. She died in February 2000 and her ashes were scattered in Southport Bay.[3] The Esther Rofe Award was established in her honor at the University of Melbourne in Australia.[4][5]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • 1993 Composer-of-Honour in the School of Music Conservatorium at Monash University.
  • 1998 Australia Day Citizen of the Year award from the City of Boroondara
  • 1998 Became a represented composer at the Australian Music Centre (AMC).


Rofe was known for ballet. Selected works include:

  • Sea Legend (1943) ballet choreographed by Dorothy Stevenson
  • Terra Australis (1946) ballet choreographed by Edouard Borovansky
  • L’Amour enchantee (1950) ballet choreographed by Martyn
  • Mathinna (1954) ballet choreographed by Martyn
  • The Lake (1962) rework of L’Amour enchantee for television


  1. ^ Petrus, Pauline (1995). Esther Rofe, theatre musician and narrative composer: a biographical and historical overview of her life and music. Monash University. Dept. of Music. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Rofe, Esther (1904 - 2000)". Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "ESTHER ROFE". Retrieved 3 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Faculty of Music Undergraduate Awards". Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Rubin, Don; Pong, Chua Soo; Chaturvedi, Ravi (2001). The world encyclopedia of contemporary theatre: Volume 3.