Pamela Harrison (composer)

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Pamela Harrison (28 November 1915 – 28 August 1990) was an English pianist, music teacher and composer.


Pamela Harrison was born in Orpington, England, and studied with Gordon Jacob and Arthur Benjamin at the Royal College of Music in London. During World War II, she worked as a school teacher.[1]

Harrison's work was influenced by composers including E.J. Moeran, Arnold Bax and John Ireland, and French music. She made her debut as a composer with String Quartet in 1944 at the National Gallery concerts. She went on to produce a variety of music, including chamber, orchestral and vocal music, with settings including Baudelaire, Herrick, Dowson and Edward Thomas. Her work for small orchestra, A Suite for Timothy, was composed for the first birthday of her son.[2]

In 1990 Harrison died in a car accident in Firle, East Sussex.

Selected works[edit]

  • A Suite for Timothy for string orchestra (1948)
  • An Evocation of the Weald (1954)
  • Brimstone Down for small orchestra (1958)
  • Concertante for piano and string orchestra (1954)
Chamber music
  • Allegretto for cello and piano (c.1935); published in The Strad, February 2003
  • Quintet for flute, oboe, violin, viola and cello (1944)
  • String Quartet (1944)
  • String Trio (1945)
  • Sonata for viola and piano (1946)
  • Woodwind Quintet (1948)
  • Sonata for cello and piano (1947)
  • Sonata for clarinet and piano (1954)
  • Clarinet Quintet for clarinet, 2 violins, viola and cello (1956)
  • Idle Dan, or, Nothing to Do for cello and piano (1959)
  • 2 Pieces for cello and piano (1959)
  1. White May Morning
  2. A Marsh Song
  • Badinage for flute and piano (1963)
  • Chase a Shadow for oboe and piano (1963)
  • Faggot Dance for bassoon and piano (1963)
  • Sonnet in D minor for cello and piano (1963)
  • Lament for viola and piano (1965)
  • Piano Trio for violin, cello and piano (1967)
  • Quartet for flute, violin, cello and piano (1968)
  • Quintet for flute, oboe, violin, cello and piano (1974)
  • 5 Pieces for flute and piano (1976)
  • Drifting Away for clarinet and piano (c.1978)
  • Septet for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass (1980)
  • Octetto Pastorale for wind octet (2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, 2 bassoons) (1981)
  • Mariner's Way for flute and piano (1982)
  • Lullaby for cello and piano
  • Rock Grove Suite for flute, cello and piano (1989)
  • Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano
  • Epithalamium (1967)
  • Anderida, 6 Diversions (1960)
  1. Romney Marsh Goblin
  2. A Canterbury Tale
  3. Hoppers' Dance
  4. Childdingstone Cherry Pickers
  5. Ebb tide at Sandgate
  6. Faversham Fair
  • 6 Eclogues of Portugal (1960)
  • 6 Dances for Fanny Simon for piano 4-hands (1976)
  • The Lonely Landscape for voice and piano (1944); words by Emily Brontë
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away
I'm happiest now when most away
The night is darknening round me
The battle has passed from the height
The starry night shall tidings bring
'Tis moonlight, summer moonlight
  • 6 Poems of Baudelaire for tenor and string orchestra (1944–1945); words by Charles Baudelaire
  • 8 Poems of Walter de la Mare for voice and piano (1949); words by Walter de la Mare
  1. Blindman's In
  2. A Goldfinch
  3. White
  4. Dreamland
  5. Where
  6. Why?
  7. The Horseman
  8. Nicoletta
  • 5 Poems of Ernest Dowson for tenor and string orchestra (1951–1952); words by Ernest Dowson
Beata solitudo
Non suma qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam
Villanelle of Marguerite's
Soli cantare periti Arcades
  • The Kindling of the Day for voice and string quartet (1952)
  • 2 Songs for voice and piano (1954); words by Walter de la Mare
  • The Dark Forest, Song Cycle for tenor and string orchestra (1957); words by Edward Thomas
  • 8 Songs for voice, recorder and piano (1959); words by Walter de la Mare
  • Ladies' Choice for voice, violin, cello and harp (1969); words by Walter de la Mare


Selected recordings include:

  • English String Miniatures, Volume 5 – Pamela Harrison: A Suite for Timothy (1948); Gavin Sutherland (conductor); Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Naxos 8.557752 (2006)
  • La Viola: Music for Viola and Piano by Women Composers of the 20th Century – Pamela Harrison: Lament, Viola Sonata (1946) – Hillary Herndon (viola); Wei-Chun Bernadette Lo (piano); MSR 1416 (2012)
  • A Portrait of the Viola – Pamela Harrison: Sonata for viola and piano (1946) – Helen Callus (viola); Robert McDonald (piano); ASV Ltd. CD DCA 1130 (2002)


  • Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian (1994). The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 210–211. ISBN 0-393-03487-9.


  1. ^ Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian (1994). The Norton/Grove dictionary of women composers (Digitized online by GoogleBooks). p. 210. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Pamela Harrison". Naxos. Retrieved 11 January 2013.

Personal Website: