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Ronald Tremain


Born: 1923 Died: 1998


Ronald Tremain was born in Feilding, New Zealand in 1923. He had a distinguished career as a composer and teacher. Initially studying piano, he gained Trinity College Diplomas before earning his first degree in music at Canterbury University.

After war service he taught at Feilding High School and attended Cambridge Summer Music Schools (studying composition with Douglas Lilburn) in 1947 and 1948. He continued his studies at the Royal College of Music in London earning diplomas in piano performance and a doctorate in 1953.

Awards during this time included the Royal College of Music's Cobbett Prize for his String Quartet as well as the Farrar Prize and 2nd Prize in the Lionel Tertis Awards. In 1952 he was awarded an Italian Government Bursary and studied composition with Goffredo Petrassi at the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome.

After some years working as a freelance teacher, composer and examiner in London he returned to New Zealand where he spent ten years as a lecturer at the University of Auckland. In 1963 he was awarded the Carnegie Travelling Fellowship and toured universities in the United States. From 1967 to 1968 he was Visiting Professor at the School of Music, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and from 1968 to 1969, Visiting Professor of Theory and Composition at the State University of New York, Buffalo. He then returned to Britain to lecture at Goldsmiths College at the University of London.

In 1970 he moved to Canada where he was Professor of Music at Brock University until his retirement in 1989. In 1991 he was made a Professor Emeritus. Ronald Tremain died at Niagara on the Lake, Canada in 1998.

Composed (79)

A Sad Little Song

for piano, 1m

Allegro for Strings

for string orchestra, 5m

Anna Elise

for unison voices and piano, 2m

Bird-Scarer's Song

for unison voices and piano, 2m

Brown is my love

for unison voices and piano, 2m

Carol of the Star

for unaccompanied SATB choir, 4m

Choral Exercises In Twentieth Century Idioms

for mixed voices, SSA, SATB

Drums and Trumpets

for piano, 1m

Eleven Haiku

for tenor and oboe, 14m

Fanfare for Brass Quartet

for brass quartet, 1m

Fanfare for Two Trumpets

for two trumpets, 1m

Five Epigrams for Twelve Solo Strings

for string ensemble, 6m


for brass ensemble

Follow the Leader

for piano, 1m

Four Blake Songs

for soprano and cello, 8m

Four Chinese Lyrics

for soprano and piano, 8m

Four Medieval Lyrics

for mezzo-soprano and string trio, 24m


for piano, 1m


for piano, 1m

Hush-a-ba birdie

for unison voices and piano, 2m

I saw a Fishpond

for unison voices and piano, 2m


for piano, 1m

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis

for soprano solo and SATB choir, 6m


for SATB choir and organ, 20m

Memory, Hither Come

for voices and piano, 2m


for unison voices


for wind ensemble, 10m

Murder in the Cathedral

incidental music for radio play, 20m

Music for Violin and Strings

for solo violin and string orchestra, 10m

Nine Studies

for violin and viola, 25m

Now My God

for SATB choir and organ


for unison voices and piano, 2m


for four part choir with keyboard accompaniment

Psalm 100

for unaccompanied SATB choir, 5m


for piano, 1m

School's Out

two part song for voices and piano, 2m

Seal up her eyes

for two-part treble choir

Seven Medieval Lyrics

for solo tenor, SATB choir and orchestra, 25m


for soprano and piano

Shepherd Boy's Song

for unison voices and piano

Six Shakespeare Songs

for unaccompanied SAB choir

Sleigh Ride

for piano, 1m

Slow, Slow Fresh Fount

for unison voices and piano, 2m


for two-part (SS) choir

String Quartet

for string quartet, 12m

String Trio

for string trio, 16m

Sweet day, so cool

for a cappella SSA choir


for orchestra, 25m

Symphony for Strings

for string orchestra, 15m

Tenera Juventa

for SATB choir and 2 pianos, 7m

Terence McDiddler

for two part choir and piano, 2m

The Good Woman Of Szechuan

for oboe, clarinet and bassoon

The Herdsboy's Carol

for unison voices and piano, 2m

The King of Love my Shepherd is

for unaccompanied SATB

The Rain

for two-part treble choir

The Tempest

incidental music for play by Shakespeare

Theme and Variations

for two violins, 22m

This night the world rejoices

for unison singing with descant

Three Elizabethan Poems

for soprano and piano

Three Inventions

for piano, 6m

Three Little Ghostesses

for SSS choir with piano

Three Mediaeval Hymns

for unaccompanied SATB choir, 9m

Three Mystical Songs

for contralto and string orchestra, 15m

Three Poems of James Joyce

for baritone and viola, 8m

Three Songs

for tenor and piano, 9m

Three Songs

for soprano and viola, 9m

Three wise men of Gotham

for SSS choir with piano

Three Young Rats

for unison voices and piano, 1m

To Violets

for SS choir


for massed unison voices and piano

Twenty-fifth Anniversary Fanfare for Brass Ensemble

for brass ensemble (11 players), 3m

Two Bagatelles

for piano, 5m

Two Pieces

for solo flute, 8m


for soprano and viola, 5m

Vocalises I & II

for soprano solo, 6m

War of the Newts

incidental music for radio play for chamber ensemble, 15m

Why So Pale and Wan?

for unison voices and piano, 2m