Elizabeth Maconchy defied gender norms and grew to fame as one of the most important and well-respected composers of her period. Maconchy was born in Hertfordshire in 1907 and grew up in rural Ireland, where she started playing the piano and composing music at the age of six. She trained at the Royal College of Music under Ralph Vaughan Williams, whom she remained acquainted with throughout her life; however, she was more drawn to the central European modernism of Bartók and Janáek, and she finished her studies in Prague with K.B. Jirák. Elizabeth's contributions are remarkable; she chaired the Composers' Guild of Great Britain, acted as President of the Society for the Promotion of New Music, and was elected Dame of the British Empire in 1987.
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