1919 - 2005
Phyllis Mary Gummer (12 March 1919 – 2005) was a Canadian composer of classical music.
Phyllis Gummer was born in Kingston, Ontario, and studied at Queen's University, where her father was assistant professor of mathematics. In 1940 during her studies at Queen's, her "Piano sonata" and the song "Requiescat" received first prize in an annual composition competition for Canadian composers under 22, held by the Canadian Performing Rights Society (now called the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada). The prize included a scholarship for study at the Toronto Conservatory (now called The Royal Conservatory of Music). In 1942, she was noted for her developing talent by Sir Ernest MacMillan.
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Queen's, she studied composition under Healy Willan and violin under Harold Sumberg at the Toronto Conservatory. During her time at the Toronto Conservatory she was in a circle of composers that included John Weinzweig, Louis Applebaum, Godfrey Ridout, Barbara Pentland, Leonard Basham, and Eldon Rathburn.
She also performed in local concerts, on violin, piano, viola and organ. In 1942 she won a fellowship in composition at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City.
Gummer's early compositions received attention in the early 1940s. Beside the CPRS prize in 1940, her works were performed at several local concerts. A reviewer in the Canadian Review of Music and Arts wrote about a concert on 28 February 1942 at the Conservatory Hall in Toronto: "In all her works Miss Gummer showed herself to be possessed of real musically creative thought, and capable of producing a fine harmonic texture of great delicacy and strength."
In the 1940s and 1950s, Phyllis Gummer was a staff member of the National Film Board of Canada and part of a group of composers led by Louis Applebaum and including Maurice Blackburn, Eldon Rathburn and Robert Fleming.
There is little known about the activities of Phyllis Gummer after that time, but she remained connected to the classical music scene. H. Stephen Wright stated that she is one of the Canadian composers who "may be known to American readers, if not for their film work, then for their music for radio and concert." In the 1970s, most of her music was sold to private parties.
Biography taken from Wikipedia.