Shena Fraser


Shena Fraser (born Shena Eleanor Fraser) was a Composer born on the 26th May 1910 in Stirling, Scotland. She also composed under her married name Shena Neame, and pseudonym Sebastian Scott. 

Fraser was born in Stirling, Scotland, the daughter of a Chartered Accountant. Fraser was educated privately at Queen Margaret's School in Scarborough (now located in Escrick, just outside York since 1949), and then at the Royal College of Music. Whilst at RCM Fraser studied violin as her principal subject with Maurice Sons and gained an ARCM (teaching diploma) in Violin. She later changed her principal subject to piano and studied with Henry Wilson gaining an ARCM (solo performance) as a pianist. At the same time she also studied composition with Herbert Howells. Her final piano recital was at Grotrian Hall, London in 1934.

Fraser married Laurence Neame, a brewery director, in Kent in 1934. She had three sons, one daughter and four grandchildren. 

After marriage Fraser taught piano privately and held a weekly Aural Training class for children aged six to eight. 

She was a member of Ospringe WI, East Kent, and Eastling WI in Faversham. Fraser started a W.I. choir and conducted it, winning festivals. She was also Music Adviser to the National Federation of Women's Institutes for four years and served on Kent Music Committee for many years. 

Fraser was Tutor and Adjudicator in conducting to the Talbot-Lampson School for Conductors and Accompanists. She was also a Member of the Composers Guild of Great Britain, the Incorporated Society of Musicials and the Royal Musical Association. On retiral Fraser was made an Hon. Member of the Talbot-Lampson School.

Fraser's compositions have had many performances and broadcasts on both National and Regional television. They have been played at the Royal Festival Hall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Fairfield Hall, Croydon and Canterbury Cathedral. 

From 1977-1982 Fraser collaborated with Yvonne Enoch in starting and running annually the Summer School for Pianists. She then collaborated with Enoch in starting and continuing the music publishing business of Fraser-Enoch Publications. Specialising in music for piano, they aimed to attract teachers and pupils to today's composers. Shena Fraser's music is published by various publishers and includes works for voices, piano, flute, oboe etc. A special interest in Aural Training has led her to produce three books on this subject. Her output is predominantly vocal and reflects her interest in music for amateurs, particularly amateur choirs; several of her most significant works, such as Carillon (1957), To Him Give Praise (1959–60), A Ring of Jewels (1975) and A Boy was Born (1988), are for women’s voices. Among her instrumental works are a Sonatina for flute (1989) and two Sea Poems for piano duo (1988), the latter adapted from her 1972 cantata Full Fathom Five. Her principal publishers are Associated Board, Banks, Boosey & Hawkes, Chappell, Curwen, Fraser-Enoch, Novello, OUP, Roberton, Thames Publishing and United Music Publishers. Some material is held at the British Music Information Centre in London.

Shena Fraser died in 1993.