We do not know if she had any science connections – if you know of any please let us know.
Title: The Sea Shell
Scientist: MARY SOMERVILLE
Words by: William Soutar
Written in: 1944
For: Voice and Piano
Performed by: Frances M Lynch
MUSIC COMING SOON!
Educated at Rothesay House, Edinburgh, (possibly also at St James’s School, West Malvern) and Edinburgh University.
She studied violin with Camillo Ritter – hailed as Scotland’s foremost teacher of violin, whose mother, Emma Ritter-Bondy, was the first female professor of a higher education institution in the UK – appointed professor of piano in 1892 at Glasgow Athenaeum School of Music which is now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Isobel studied singing with Michael Poutiatine and her composition studies at Edinburgh University were with Sir Donald Tovey – a composer and academic best known for his book Essays in Musical Analysis. She also studied with Dr Hans Gál, a composer who had fled the Nazi’s from his home in Vienna to live in Scotland.
Princes Street, Edinburgh, at the time of Isobel Dunlop’s birth
In the 1930’s she taught at Westonbirt and Downham schools
She was a freelance composer whose work included Operas and String Quartets.
She played violin and sang – notably with the Saltire Singers
- From 1949, when she helped to found it, until her retirement, she was Secretary of the Saltire Music Group.
- She worked for The Saltire Society
- She was a founder of the Saltire Singers – a highly acclaimed vocal quartet
- Assistant National Officer for the Scottish Arts Council 1943– 48
Her music was performed in 1949 and 1987 at the Edinburgh International Festival
Her Four Settings of William Soutar was performed at the Freemason’s Hall on 1st September 1949. They were also performed at St Cecilia’s Hall on 24th and 25th August 1987, along with the work Mirror for Monarchy – Portraits of James V and his daughter Mary Queen of Scots which she wrote with Kenneth Elliott – a composer and expert on early Scottish Music
DID YOU KNOW?
She was also known as Violet Skelton and was descended from the poet John Skelton
Her personal correspondence includes letters from Kathleen Ferrier, Dame Ethel Smyth and Thea Musgrave who it seems played piano sometimes for the Saltire Singers.
She may have also made her own watercolours and ink drawings
AN INSPIRING WOMAN
She offered encouragement and support to young composers, and often took more of her fair share of admin work in the performance endeavours she was part of.