Emma Lou Diemer

  • 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
    413-41147 The Philadelphia Organ Book:
    Six Short Pieces for The Church Year
    493-00090 Prelude On St.Paul’s Cathedral
    Organ Unaccompanied
    Chamber Ensemble
    164-00064 Declamation
    For Brass and Percussion – Score and Parts
    4:00 Chamber Ensemble
    FE123 Movement for Flute Oboe
    490-01140 Piano Sonata #3
    CP7 Praise The Lord
    Full Score, SATB chorus, Trp. (2), Trb. (2), Tba., Timp. (opt.), Org.
    494-02672 Quartet
    For Trumpet, Horn, Trombone and Piano
    494-02939 Quartet for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano
    On Themes by Howard Hanson
    494-02849 Suite
    For Violin and Piano
    Violin with Piano
    20263 Toccata for Flute Chorus
    7:30 picc.(dbl. Eb fl.; C fl.), fl., a. fl., b. fl.
    392-00318 A Little Song Of Life
    CM7289 Alleluia
    1:35 Women’s Chorus
    392-01115 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
    CM7831 Dance, Dance My Heart
    392-01113 Dear God, Bestow On Us
    ET5 For Ye Shall Go Out With Joy
    362-03088 Four Carols
    Women’s Voices – S.S.A.
    Women’s Chorus
    20259 Four Poems by Alice Meynell
    13:00 Solo soprano voice; fl.(2) (picc.); perc., pno., hpschd., hp.; vln.(2), vla., vcl.
    392-00922 Lift Up Your Heads
    CM7799 Madrigals Three
    CM7903 O Come, Let Us Sing Unto The Lord
    4:00 SATB
    CM8014 O Come, Let Us Sing Unto The Lord
    TTBB Voices with Keyboard
    492-00107 O Viridissima
    492-00213 O Viridissima Virga
    (Song To The Mother) Free Song To The Virgin
    392-01207 Peace
    for SSAA Chorus and Organ
    490-01079 Serenade/Toccata
    392-00329 So Have I Seen/Silver Swan
    392-00336 Your Friends Shall Be The Tall Wind
    392-00335 Your Friends Shall Be The Tall Wind
    20258 Anniversary Choruses
    15:00 SATB chorus; 3 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; 2Perc. Str.
    166-00027 Festival Overture
    6:30 Orchestra
    20260 Invocation
    3:00 SATB chorus; 3 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    20262 Suite of Homages
    18:00 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    Band / Wind Ensemble
    20261 La Rag
    9:00 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

  • Going Away GOING AWAY
    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
    Going Away
    Violin Concerto: John Adams Light
    Pacific Ridge PACIFIC RIDGE
    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
    Feminissimo! FEMINISSIMO!
    December 1, 2008
    Performer(s): Laura Kobayashi, violin, Susan Keith Gray, piano
    Work(s): Before Spring
    Paul Freeman Introduces Marilyn Mason 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 IN YET LONGER LIGHT’S DELAY
    January 1, 1996
    Performer(s): Sunrise Quartet
    Work(s): String Quartet No. 1
    Music at the Crossroads 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