Branscombe, Gena

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Branscombe, Gena

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Gena Branscombe was a Canadian-born composer, conductor, educator, and pianist. Born in Picton, Ontario on November 4, 1881, she received her Bachelor of Arts in composition from the Chicago Musical College (1900), studying with Felix Borowski, Alexander von Fielitz, Florenz Ziegfield, Arthur Friedheim, Hans von Schiller, and Rudolph Ganz. She also spent some time in Berlin studying with Engelbert Humperdinck. In 1932, she received an honorary Master of Arts from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where she had been director of the piano department from 1907 to 1909.

Branscombe spent most of her life in the United States, although she visited Canada frequently and some of her compositions have Canadian connections (e.g., Quebec Suite). She is best known for her choral compositions, particularly those written for women's voices, and she frequently conducted her own works in Canada, England, and the United States. She was also the founder and conductor of the Branscombe Chorale in New York (1935-1953), and conducted various choirs in New Jersey. She was also the president of the Society of American Women Composers and the vice-president and director of the National Association of American Composers and Conductors.

She married John Ferguson Tenney and had four daughters. She died at the age of 95 in New York on July 26, 1977.


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