Jean Coulthard (1908-2000)
Three Ancient Memories of Greece
Before the statue of Endymion (K. Kavafis)
What rapture could I take from song (Sappho)
Long ago (K. Kavafis)
Jean Coulthard was born in Vancouver; she wrote her first compositions under the supervision of her mother. Her early professional training was at the Royal College of Music in London, where her teachers included R. O. Morris and Ralph Vaughan Williams. In the 1930s and early 40s she had assessment critiques from Schoenberg, Milhaud and Bartók as well as further studies with Bernard Wagenaar in New York. Throughout the 1950s and 60s Coulthard forged her own tonally-based musical idiom and laid the foundations of her extensive repertoire, which encompasses over 350 works in virtually all musical genres. Coulthard's earliest works show the marked influence of the French impressionists and, to a lesser extent, the imprint of her early training in England. Immediately after the Second World War she was to develop her characteristic style: a blend of traditional formal processes with polytonally based and chromatically enriched harmonies. During the next three decades she wrote many new works, some intentionally designed to be accessible to the general musical public, others considerably more abstract and uncompromising. Very recent Coulthard works often explore a growing vocabulary of contemporary techniques - aleatory effects, microtones, musique concrète, tone clusters - all assimilated within the context of her personal voice.