Marga Richter

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Marga Richter (born October 21, 1926) is an American composer.


Marga Richter was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, the daughter of soprano Inez Chandler-Richter (1885–1956). She studied piano at the MacPhail School of Music in Minneapolis with Irene Hellner and with Helena Morsztyn in New York. She entered the Juilliard School of Music in 1945 and studied composition with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti and piano with Rosalyn Tureck, graduating with a BS and then MS degree in 1951. After completing her studies, she taught music appreciation at Nassau Community College from 1971–72, and later began working as a composer full-time.[1][2]

Richter co-founded the Long Island Composers Alliance in 1972 with Herbert Deutsch and served as its co-director, president and vice-president. Pianist Michael Skelly is her son.[3]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • Annual awards from ASCAP since 1966
  • Two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1977, 1979)
  • Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund grant
  • Meet the Composer grant
  • National Federation of Music Clubs grant


Richter composes for orchestra, ballet, opera, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensemble and solo instrument and her compositions have been performed internationally. Selected works include:

  • Abyss (1-act ballet, choreography by Stuart Hodes), orchestra, 1964
  • Bird of Yearning (1-act ballet, choreography by Stuart Hodes), orchestra, 1967
  • Riders to the Sea (1-act chamber opera, libretto by John Millington Synge) 1996
  • Concerto for Piano and Violas, Cellos and Basses, 1955
  • Lament, string orchestra, 1956
  • Aria and Toccata, viola, string orchestra, 1957
  • Variations on a Sarabande, 1959
  • Eight Pieces for Orchestra, large orchestra, 1961 (version of piano work)
  • Darkening of the Light for viola solo (1961)
  • Suite for solo viola (1962)
  • Bird of Yearning, small orchestra (28 players), 1967 (version of ballet)
  • Concerto No. 2 Landscapes of the Mind I, piano, large orchestra, 1968–74
  • Fragments, 1978
  • Country Auction, symphonic band, 1976
  • Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit, 1976
  • Spectral Chimes/Enshrouded Hills, 3 quintets, orchestra, 1978–80
  • Düsseldorf Concerto, flute, harp, viola, small orchestra (timpani, percussion, strings), 1981–82
  • Out of Shadows and Solitude, large orchestra, 1985
  • Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark, 1991
  • Variations and Interludes on Themes from Monteverdi and Bach (concerto), violin, cello, piano, large orchestra, 1992
  • Three Songs of Madness and Death (text by John Webster), mixed chorus, 1955;
  • Psalm 91, mixed chorus, 1963
  • Variations on a Theme by Neidhart von Reuenthal, piano, 1974
  • Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark No. 2, piano, 1992
  • Soundings, harpsichord or piano, 1965
  • Short Prelude in Baroque Style, harpsichord or piano 1974


Richter's works have been recorded and issued on CD including:

  • William George, Andrea Lodge, "Dew-drops On A Lotus Leaf & Other Songs", Redshift
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra, Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit, Leonarda
  • Seattle Symphony, Out of Shadows and Solitude, MMC-Master Musicians Collective
  • Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Spectral Chimes/Enshrouded Hills and Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark, MMC[4]


  1. ^ "Biography". Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ Pendle, Karin (1997). American Women Composers: Volume 16, Parts 1-2. Retrieved November 12, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Marga Richter". Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Classical Composers". Retrieved October 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]