Emma Lou Diemer was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 24, 1927 to George Willis Diemer, an educator and college president, and Myrtle Casebolt Diemer, a church worker and homemaker. Diemer played the piano and composed at a very early age and became organist in her church at age 13. Her great interest in composing music continued through College High School in Warrensburg, MO, and she majored in composition at the Yale Music School (BM, 1949; MM, 1950) and at the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D, 1960). She studied in Brussels, Belgium on a Fulbright Scholarship and spent two summers of composition study at the Berkshire Music Center.
Diemer taught in several colleges and was organist at several churches in the Kansas City area during the 1950s. From 1959-61 she was composer-in-residence in the Arlington, VA schools under the Ford Foundation Young Composers Project, and composed many choral and instrumental works for the schools, a number of which are still in publication. She was consultant for the MENC Contemporary Music Project before joining the faculty of the University of Maryland where she taught composition and theory from 1965-70. In 1971 she moved from the East Coast to teach composition and theory at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she was instrumental in founding the electronic/computer music program. In 1991 she became Professor Emeritus at UCSB.
Through the years she has fulfilled many commissions (orchestral, chamber ensemble, keyboard, choral, vocal) from schools, churches, and professional organizations. She has received awards from Yale University (Certificate of Merit), The Eastman School of Music (Edward Benjamin Award), the National Endowment for the Arts (electronic music project), Mu Phi Epsilon (Certificate of Merit), the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards (for piano concerto), the American Guild of Organists (Composer of the Year), the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers/ASCAP (annually since 1962 for performances and publications), the Santa Barbara Symphony (composer-in-residence, 1990-92), the University of Central Missouri (honorary doctorate), and many others.
She is an active keyboard performer (piano, organ, harpsichord, synthesizer), and in the last few years has given concerts of her own music at Washington National Cathedral, St. Mary’s Cathedral and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, and elsewhere.
In 2012 she wrote two works for violinist Philip Ficsor including Concerto for Violin (A Little Parlour Music, Remembrance of Things Past, Santa Barbara Rag) and a light piece for violin and organ titled Holiday Madness Medley. Concerto for Violin premiered with the Westmont College Orchestra under Michael Shasberger at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, while Diemer herself premiered Holiday Madness Medley with Ficsor at the SB Music Club at First Congregational Church.
Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation Drag Here to Add To List Solo The Philadelphia Organ Book:
Six Short Pieces for The Church Year
413-41147 Prelude On St.Paul’s Cathedral 493-00090 Organ Unaccompanied Chamber Ensemble Declamation
For Brass and Percussion – Score and Parts
164-00064 4:00 Chamber Ensemble Movement for Flute Oboe FE123 Piano Sonata #3 490-01140 Praise The Lord CP7 Full Score, SATB chorus, Trp. (2), Trb. (2), Tba., Timp. (opt.), Org. Quartet
For Trumpet, Horn, Trombone and Piano
494-02672 Quartet for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano
On Themes by Howard Hanson
494-02939 10:00 Suite
For Violin and Piano
494-02849 Violin with Piano Toccata for Flute Chorus 20263 7:30 picc.(dbl. Eb fl.; C fl.), fl., a. fl., b. fl. Vocal/Choral A Little Song Of Life 392-00318 Alleluia CM7289 1:35 Women’s Chorus A Mighty Fortress Is Our God 392-01115 Dance, Dance My Heart CM7831 SATB Dear God, Bestow On Us 392-01113 For Ye Shall Go Out With Joy ET5 SATB Four Carols
Women’s Voices – S.S.A.
362-03088 Women’s Chorus Four Poems by Alice Meynell 20259 00:13:00 Solo soprano voice; fl.(2) (picc.); perc., pno., hpschd., hp.; vln.(2), vla., vcl. Lift Up Your Heads 392-00922 Madrigals Three CM7799 SATB O Come, Let Us Sing Unto The Lord CM7903 4:00 SATB O Come, Let Us Sing Unto The Lord CM8014 TTBB Voices with Keyboard O Viridissima 492-00107 O Viridissima Virga
(Song To The Mother) Free Song To The Virgin
492-00213 SSAA Peace
for SSAA Chorus and Organ
392-01207 :00:00 SSAA Serenade/Toccata 490-01079 So Have I Seen/Silver Swan 392-00329 Your Friends Shall Be The Tall Wind
392-00336 Your Friends Shall Be The Tall Wind 392-00335 Orchestra Anniversary Choruses 20258 00:15:00 SATB chorus; 3 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; 2Perc. Str. Festival Overture 166-00027 6:30 Orchestra Invocation 20260 00:03:00 SATB chorus; 3 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str. Suite of Homages 20262 00:18:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str. To Him All Glory Give
for Chorus and Orchestra
15519 00:08:00 3 2 2 2 – 4 3 2 1; Perc. Str. Band / Wind Ensemble La Rag 20261 00:09:00 picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), cl.(3), b.cl., bsn (2), a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), tpt.(4), tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; timp., perc.(3)
Emma Lou Diemer is the consummate musician—at once a composer, an educator and a performer.
–Ellen Grolman Schlegel, International Alliance for Women in Music
Because we often know composers’ names from past centuries better than those alive in our own time, we are lucky to have met Emma Lou Diemer, a composer whose body of work promises to stand the test of time.
–Carol Talbeck, San Francisco Choral Society
December 12, 2013
Performer(s): Emma Lou Diemer, Philip Ficsor
Work(s): Violin Concerto: A Little Parlour Music
Violin Concerto: Remembrance of Things Past
Violin Concerto: Santa Barbara Rag
Holiday Madness Medley
Violin Concerto: John Adams Light
February 26, 2013
Performer(s): London Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra
Work(s): Santa Barbara Overture
Concerto in One Movement for Marimba
Concerto in One Movement for Piano
December 1, 2008
Performer(s): Laura Kobayashi, violin, Susan Keith Gray, piano
Work(s): Before Spring
PAUL FREEMAN INTRODUCES MARILYN MASON
December 28, 2004
Performer(s): Czech National Symhony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor, Marilyn Mason, organ
Work(s): Concerto in One Movement for Organ and Chamber Orchestra “Alaska”
IN YET LONGER LIGHT’S DELAY
January 1, 1996
Performer(s): Sunrise Quartet
Work(s): String Quartet No. 1
MUSIC AT THE CROSSROADS
December 1, 1995
Performer(s): North-South Consonance Ensemble
Work(s): Sextet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano
1995: Mu Phi Epsilon Certificate of Merit
1995: American Guild of Organists Composer of the Year
1992: Friedheim Award in Orchestral Music
1977: Certificate of Merit from Yale University
1972: National Endowment for the Arts Composer Fellowship in electronic music
1962 – Present: American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers/ASCAP Awards