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More than a composer

Dorothy was not only a composer, but a performer, teacher, adjudicator and land girl. Her musical career was to suffer a very unfortunate setback due to World War II, when she served in the Women’s Land Army, an experience she found disturbing as well as time-consuming.

World War II had profound effects on the music scene, especially in London. Three Divertissements for orchestra dedicated to Sir Henry Wood were commissioned for the 1940 Proms season, but Queen’s Hall was bombed just two nights before the scheduled performance. The work was finally premiered at the Malvern Festival in 1950 by the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Adrian Boult. Living in London during the war was a daunting and tense time, but she always made a conscious effort to remain cheerful and optimistic.

Dorothy would also adjudicate at Music Festivals and competitions. She was once asked to adjudicate a local male-voice choir competition. This was in 1921 when Dorothy and fellow adjudicator Arthur Woodall awarded the prize to Cradley Heath and Old Hill Choir.

As a music teacher Dorothy was caring, enthusiastic and encouraging. Her students remember her with great affection as a “real lady”: kind, considerate and genteel. In her teaching pieces Dorothy’s child-like humour is often revealed in the titles; A-Shopping-We-Will-Go, Puppydog Tales, and Old Mrs Clutterbuck. Many who knew her well would say that she never really grew up! Prolific pupils included Moura Lympany and Thorunn Tryggvason (Mrs Vladimir Ashkenazy). Sir Henry Wood’s own daughter was also a pupil of hers.

Dorothy’s tuition also extended to the production of training manuals. Her most successful and sought after teaching publication was a Keyboard Work for Harmony Students published in 1962 by Josef Weinberger Ltd, London, which was highly praised by her students.

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