Martha Alter

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Martha Alter (8 February 1904 – 3 June 1976) was an American pianist, music teacher and composer.

Life and career[edit]

Martha Alter was born in New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania, to parents David Boyd and Daisy Myrl Alter. She graduated from Vassar College in 1925. Alter continued her studies, receiving a master's in musicology from Columbia University and a master's of music composition from Eastman School of Music,[1] studying with Ernest Hutcheson, Rubin Goldmark, Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers.[2]

She taught at Vassar College from 1929-1931[3] and took a position teaching music at Connecticut College in 1942.[4] She died in Newport, Pennsylvania, and her papers are housed at the Vassar College Libraries.[5]


Selected compositions include:

  • O Bethlehem
  • Peace
  • Bill George, march and song for baritone and orchestra, poem by Malcolm Cowley
  • Anthony Cotnstock or A Puritan's Progress, ballet
  • Groceries and Notions, drama with Gertrude Brown, book by K.K. Doughtie


  1. ^ Martha Alter papers, 1923-1942, retrieved 17 May 2014 
  2. ^ Ahlquist, Karen, Alter, Martha (1904 - 1976), composer, pianist, teacher, Grove Music Online, retrieved 17 May 2014 
  3. ^ Frankenstein, Alfred Victor; Spaeth, Sigmund Gottfried; Mize, John Townsend Hinton (1951). Who is who in music. 
  4. ^ Martha Alter, Conn College Professor, dies, retrieved 17 May 2014 
  5. ^ "History". Retrieved 5 October 2010.