Composer Spotlight: Imogen Holst



Spotlight on the Leiston Suite

Matthew Knight, Co-Principal Trombone of the RPO says: ‘It’s always great to find new original music for brass, and Imogen Holst’s Leiston Suite is a recent discovery for me, having been recorded by Onyx Brass in 2018. Its short movements are wonderfully evocative, capturing all the different colours our instruments can produce. And, of course, there is a strong RPO link – Leiston is a town between Aldeburgh and Lowestoft, two places in Suffolk that the Orchestra visits regularly.’



Imogen Holst CBE (1907–1984) was the daughter of Gustav Holst (composer of The Planets) and very much a celebrated figure in the British music industry in her own right. Recognised for her musical talent at an early age and a graduate of the Royal College of Music, her skills ranged from composing, arranging and conducting to teaching and musicology, though she is perhaps best remembered for her work alongside Benjamin Britten and as an artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival for twenty years. A passionate advocate for English composers, especially her father, her own rarely performed, expressive works include choral and instrumental pieces, which are often influenced by folksong and country dance rhythms.


More music to explore…

Listen out for Mass in A minor for unaccompanied choir, The Fall of the Leaf for solo cello and Phantasy Quartet for string quartet.


Imogen Holst’s Leiston Suite was performed on Wed 30 Sept 2020, 1.15pm at Cadogan Hall.


Discover other composers featured in the Spotlight Series here.