1899 - 1974
Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté (6 January 1899 [O.S. 25 December 1898] in Moscow, Russia – 2 December 1974 in Stuttgart, Germany) was a Russian-born Canadian composer and virtuoso pianist and violinist.
As a composer Eckhardt-Gramatté was largely self-taught. She composed more than 175 works. She learned a great deal from the virtuoso music she performed on both the piano and the violin, and her compositions – especially from the 1920s – reflect this. By the late 1930s her contrapuntal idiom had reached full maturity, and in the following decade her style moved towards neo-classicism and bitonality with some use of jazz idioms. In 1950, with the Piano Sonata no.5, she began to adopt serialism, and by 1955 her use of metric manipulation showed similarities to that of Olivier Messiaen and Boris Blacher. She retained a lifelong admiration for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach – the ending of her 1955 Concerto for Orchestra reworks the prelude from his Partita in E major – and, like Bela Bartók, she frequently used the interval of a fourth as a structural device. Her music is dark, dense and dramatic, with forward drive. She admired the First Viennese School, but her brand of counterpoint is individual and its dissonance owes much to the post-Romantics. Despite her use of modern techniques, she remained a Romantic in spirit. In addition to writing music, she developed a piano teaching method, the ‘E-gré Piano Technique’, whose basis is the use of rotary movement.
Her compositions include: two symphonies; a concerto for orchestra; a triple concerto for trumpet, clarinet, bassoon, strings, and timpani; three piano concertos; two violin concertos; a piece for two pianos and orchestra; a bassoon concerto; various chamber works; as well as numerous instrumental solos for piano and violin.
Most of her compositions are published by the Canadian Music Centre.
Biography taken from Wikipedia.