Throughout the month of March, in support of International Women's Day 2018, Sound and Music is showcasing incredibly talented women in music. On the British Music Collection we will be celebrating female composers both past and present, with a different profile featured every day.
Today, we recognize Eleanor Alberga and her significant contribution to new music.
Eleanor Alberga- ‘I have a very light side of music that I write which is tonal and rhythmic and can have more obviously African and Caribbean influences’
At the young age of five Eleanor Alberga knew she wanted to be a pianist. Born in 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica, Eleanor studied at the Jamaica School of Music. In 1970 she won the biennial West Indian Associated Board Scholarship, which allowed her to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
From drawing on her own experiences as a dancer with an African group, to her classical musical training and attraction to 20th century composition, the wealth of Eleanor Alberga’s musical influences is particularly fascinating. In her own words:
‘I think I’m influenced by everything. My early life was mostly as a pianist so I did loads of repertoire of old classical stuff, but I really fell in love with Bartók in a big way from very early on, and so 20th-century and now 21st-century music has been my biggest interest. I’m influenced by people like Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Stravinsky or Messiaen - Messiaen can be quite tonal sometimes, and so can Shostakovich! But I also love Harrison Birtwistle.’ (BBC, 2015)
Records of Eleanor Alberga held by the BMC physical archive:
The British Music Collection boasts not only an online collection, but an extensive physical collection, which is held in Huddersfield at Heritage Quay. Within the collection records of Eleanor can be found, including assorted biographies, reviews and programmes, scores and recordings. To find out how to visit the physical archives, follow this link to the Heritage Quay site.
Eleanor Alberga's British Music Collection records can be found online via here.