How to preserve the legacy of important American composers after they die Virginia Bortin, Secretary, the Elinor Remick Warren (1900-1991) Society
Elinor Remick Warren, one of 20th century America’s most important neo-Romantic composers and one of the most significant women in her field, was born in Los Angeles in 1900 and died there in 1991, leaving more than 200 published compositions for solo voice, chorus, piano, orchestra, and a number of large works for chorus and orchestra.
In 1996, her family founded the Elinor Remick Warren Society, to perpetuate her legacy and her music. Since that time, a Web site has been developed, which provides a comprehensive view of Warren’s life and work, including a catalog of compositions, a discography, biography, bibliography, photos and excerpts of her music in streaming format.
Warren’s papers, manuscripts, photos and memorabilia have been presented to the Library of Congress. During the weekend of March 18-20, 2000, to celebrate the composer’s centenary year and to formally present the collection to the Library, the Elinor Remick Warren Society held a centenary celebration in Washington, DC. This included performances of her works both at the Library and at Washington National Cathedral, where the Cathedral Choral Society, led by conductor J. Riley Lewis, with Thomas Hampson as soloist, performed Warren’s choral symphony, The Legend of King Arthur. Also that weekend, the Library and the Society held a symposium on the composer’s life and work.
For a number of years, Cambria Master Recordings has released a series of recordings of Warren’s songs and her major choral-orchestral works. Plans for release of her Requiem are currently under way.
Carl Fischer, Inc., in New York includes most of Warren’s major choral/orchestral works in its catalog. The company also is planning to re-release its song collection, Selected Songs by Elinor Remick Warren.
Masters Music in Boca Raton, Florida has, over the past several years, released an important collection of Warren’s vocal and piano materials. Last year, Masters published a centennial album of her works for voice, in both high and low keys. They also published her last song cycle, Songs from Country Places, as well as a number of her piano works. This year they will publish Four Irish Songs and plan in the future to publish the composer’s Quintet for Woodwinds and Horn.
During Warren’s lifetime, I wrote a biography, published by Scarecrow Press, which is now out of print but can be obtained from Society member Pamela Blevins. My second book on Warren, Elinor Remick Warren: A Bio-Bibliography, is available from Greenwood Press. The new Grove Dictionary contains an entry on Warren, as do the other Groves on American Music and Women Composers.
Members of The Elinor Remick Warren Society photographed at the Library of Congress in March of 2000, during the centenary celebration of Warren’s birth. (Front row, L to R: Virginia Bortin, Warren biographer and Society Secretary; Elayne Techentin, Warren’s daughter and Vice President; Z. Wayne Griffin, Jr., Warren’s son and Chief Executive Officer. Back row, L to R: Timothy Griffin, Warren’s grandson; Pamela Blevins; Kristen Harrison, Warren’s granddaughter; Warner Henry; Gwen Toma, Society Treasurer; and Lance Bowling. Not pictured: Thomas Hampson.) Photo by Mark Heliger
Photo courtesy The Elinor Remick Warren Society.