The Joan Trimble Centenary

Joan Trimble

Even in this age of songwriters galore there are few women composers of any note in serious music; one hundred years ago, the 18th of this month saw the birth of Joan Trimble, who died in 2000. If her name is not familiar to you, she was once quite famous, playing the piano including with her younger sister Valerie; she composed a fair amount of music, including an opera, served as a professor of music, and even edited a newspaper.

Joan Trimble was the daughter of Ulsterman William Trimble, whose family ran the Irish newspaper The Impartial Reporter. William took over the paper in 1941, by which time the Irish Republic had been granted independence. Joan studied music in the South at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and later in London at the Royal College of Music. This was not entirely surprising because she came from a musical family; Valerie played cello initially, their mother was a professional violinist, and they were related to the composer William Vincent Wallace (1812-65).

By the late 1930s she had made a name for herself playing with her sister, and was also beginning to compose her own works. In 1942 she married Dr John Greenwood Gaunt, and would bear him three children. In 1953 she produced Suite For Strings, and four years later the music for the opera Blind Raftery. Her last major work was produced in 1990.

The Joan Trimble Centenary Celebration will include a concert at the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen. There will also be an exhibition which will run until July 10.


About the author

Alexander Baron