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 Emma Lou Diemer

Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927) is a native of Kansas City, Missouri. She studied piano from an early age, wrote little piano pieces as a child, and began to play the organ in church at age 13 (First Christian Church in Warrensburg, MO where the family had moved: her father having become president of Central MO State College). She determined to be a composer about that time with a strong interest also in piano, taking lessons at the K.C. Conservatory (with Wiktor Labunski).

After high school she elected to major in composition in a school of music rather than attend a liberal arts college. Her degrees in composition are from the Yale School of Music (BM,1949; MM, 1950) and from the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D.,1960), and she studied composition further in Brussels on a Fulbright Scholarship (1952-53) and at the Berkshire Music Center (summers of 1954, 1955).

From 1954-57 she taught in several schools in the Kansas City area (Park College, William Jewell College, the K.C. Conservatory of Music) and was organist in area churches. After receiving the doctorate from Eastman she spent two years (1959-61) as composer-in-residence in the Arlington, VA schools under the Ford Foundation Young Composers Project. She wrote many choral and instrumental works while in Arlington, most of which were published, including the Three Madrigals.

From 1962-65 she was a consultant for the Contemporary Music Project of the Music Educators National Conference, taught in the Arlington schools, and became (in 1962) organist at Reformation Lutheran Church in Washington, DC. In 1965 she joined the faculty of the University of Maryland as an assistant professor of theory and composition. In 1971 she was appointed to a similar position at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and subsequently became a full professor and, since 1991, professor emeritus. Her present position as organist is at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara.

She was instrumental in founding the electronic/computer music center at UCSB and helped to develop the Ph.D./DMA degrees in composition as well as other aspects of the curriculum.

Through the years she has written many works of varying levels of difficulty from hymns and songs to concertos and symphonies. Awards for her compositions include a Louisville Student Award (for a suite for orchestra), the Arthur Benjamin Award for "Quiet Music" from Eastman (for the second movement of her 2nd symphony/dissertation), an ASCAP award received annually since 1962 for performances and publications, a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award in Orchestral Music for her 1991 piano concerto, and others. She was composer-in-residence with the Santa Barbara Symphony from 1990-92, and the 1995 Composer of the Year of the American Guild of Organists.

Her music has been published by Boosey & Hawkes, Carl Fischer, Oxford University Press, Arsis Press, Plymouth Music Company, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Seesaw Music Corporation, and others. Some of her chamber and orchestral music has been recorded on Crest, North/South Consonance, Contemporary Record Society, Master Musicians Recordings (her piano concerto, released in 1998), Leonarda, and others.


Emma Lou Diemer has 10 titles published with Santa Barbara.
Click on any title below to view the complete score and hear a recording if available.

Agnus Dei SATB SBMP 381 Audio
Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind Any SBMP 122 Audio Audio
Dolphins SA SBMP 1239 Audio Audio
Feast for Christmas [Rental Only] SATB SBMP 15 Audio Audio
Hallelujah! SATB SBMP 402 Audio Audio
How Lovely is Your Dwelling SAB SBMP 106 Audio Audio
I Know A Bird SATB SBMP 12 Audio Audio
Persimmon Tree SATB SBMP 13
Show and Tell SATB SBMP 14 Audio
Sweet dreams, form a shade SATB SBMP 18 Audio Audio

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