Sunday, 10-Feb-2008 06:32 GMT 
University of York, Department of MusicA photo of The Department of Music

 Music > Staff  > Academic  > Nicola Lefanu
Professor Nicola LeFanu
nicola lefanu Nicola LeFanu DMus (London), MA (Oxon)
Tel (ext): 2444
Room: C001
Research: Composition; Opera; Gender Studies (women composers)


Nicola LeFanu was born in England in 1947, the daughter of Irish parents: her mother was the composer Elizabeth Maconchy. LeFanu studied at the University of Oxford, (St Hilda's College, 1965-8), the Royal College of Music and as a Harkness Fellow at Harvard. She is an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and of Trinity College London, and has Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Durham and Aberdeen and the Open University. She has composed some sixty works which have been played and broadcast all over the world; her music is published by Novello and Edition Peters/Maecenas. She has been commissioned by the BBC (including the Proms), by festivals in UK and beyond, and by leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists. Many of her works are available on CD; a Naxos CD of her music for strings was issued in 2005.

LeFanu has a particular affinity for vocal music and has composed six operas. These include The Story of Mary O’Neill, a radio opera, libretto McInerney, (BBCR3, 1987) Blood Wedding, libretto Levy (WPT, London 1992), The Wildman libretto, Crossley-Holland, (Aldeburgh Festival, 1995) and Light Passing, libretto Edmonds, (BBC/NCEM, York, 2004).

She is active in many aspects of the musical profession as composer, teacher, director and as a member of numerous public boards. She has composed on a number of occasions for amateurs or young people, notably in her children's opera The Green Children, another collaboration with Crossley- Holland.

Since October 1994 she has been Professor of Music at the University of York; previously she taught at Kings' College London, and, in the 1970s, at Morley College and St Paul's Girls' School.

She has travelled widely in Australia, Europe and the US; her music often draws its inspiration from natural landscape, especially her childhood haunts in Ireland.

LeFanu is married to the composer David Lumsdaine.

Research Topic(s)

Composition; Opera; Gender Studies (women composers).

Departmental Roles

From 1994-2001, LeFanu was Head of Department. Since then she has been active in a number of roles, including as a Trustee of the Heslington Foundation and as Chair of the University of York Music Press.

LeFanu will be retiring from the University in September 2008.

Selected Recordings

The Old Woman of Beare for soprano and ensemble Lorelt LNT 101

LeFanu Portrait: Catena, String Quartet 2, Cancion,

Clarinet Concertino. Goldberg ensemble Naxos 8.557389

Mira Clar Tenebras for voice and small ensemble Metier CD 92064

A Travelling Spirit for soprano and recorder

view more...

Selected Compositions

Catena (2001)
for eleven solo strings. Premiere London, January 2001.

Amores (2003)
for solo horn and string orchestra. Premiere Bristol February 2004.

Piano Trio (2003).
Premiere Brighton Festival, May 2004. London premiere, Wigmore Hall, June 2004.

Light Passing, chamber opera (2004)
libretto John Edmonds. Premiere NCEM York, October 2004. Commissioned by BBCR3, broadcast November 2004.

Songs without Words (2005)
for clarinet and string trio. Premiere London, May 2005.

External Links

Last Modified Thursday, 10-Jan-2008 11:46 GMT

Wednesday, 13-2-2008
Christofi, Stravinsky, Mozart, & Schumann
Saturday, 16-2-2008
The Way, the Wind and the Wandering
Staff News - Nicola LeFanu
January 10, 2008
Premiere of Sea Sketches
Staff News - Thomas Simaku
January 10, 2008
Thomas Simaku on BBC Radio 3
Music student co-editor of Award-winning paper
Staff News - Nicola LeFanu
November 29, 2007
Recent performances