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The Life of Dorothy Howell (1898-1982)

Today the name of Dorothy Howell is sadly all but forgotten, yet she was one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century.
Born in Handsworth in 1898, Dorothy's family recognised her gifts and encouraged her musical talents from an early age. Composing by the age of 13, Dorothy entered the Royal Academy of Music by recommendation aged only 15.   In 1919 aged just 21, her symphonic poem Lamia was performed to great critical acclaim at The Proms.  So was to begin a glittering career in classical music as a distinguished pianist, devoted teacher and composer of over 130 pieces.
Read on to discover the fascinating story of Dorothy Howell or study the complete list of her compositions.

Dorothy Howell

Dorothy Howell Gallery

A selection of images illustrating Dorothy Howell's life and musical career 
Clifford, Alfred and Dorothy Howell

Childhood and Family

Born in Handsworth in 1898, Dorothy was raised in a musical family
Dorothy Howell (1898-1982)

Influential Beginnings

At the Royal Academy of Music, Dorothy meets the professors who will become a life-long inspiration
Dorothy appears at Æolian Hall

Career Takes Off

After her work is premiered at the 1919 Proms, Dorothy is heralded the "English Strauss"
Advertisement for The Proms


The success of Lamia makes Dorothy a household name
Willow pattern plate

Three Major Works

Throughout her musical career Dorothy would compose over 130 pieces
Recuerdos Preciosos (Precious Memories)

Acclaim and Fame

Throughout her life Dorothy was highly regarded for her many great achievements  
Dorothy Howell (1898-1982)

More Than A Composer

Dorothy was not only a composer, but a performer, teacher, adjudicator and land girl.  
Dorothy Howell in 1981. Image courtesy of Malvern Gazette

A Lady of Great Charm

Dorothy retired from the Royal Academy of Music in 1970, and in 1971 she was elected a member of the Royal Philharmonic Society.