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Elinor Remick Warren
Los Angeles Examiner, 1952
"Under its impressionistic shimmer, [Crystal Lake] has closely wrought structure, logical form and boldness of harmonic treatment."
Patterson Greene
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Biography of
Elinor Remick Warren

Elinor Remick Warren at four years

An American Romantic

In her book Unsung: A History of Women in American Music, Christine Ammer notes that Elinor Remick Warren stands as "the only woman among the group of prominent American neo-Romanticists that include Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber, and Gian Carlo Menotti." Warren never chose to set herself apart from the musical mainstream as a "woman" composer and frequently repeated her belief that "there is no gender in music." However, in the early years of her career she stood, along with Amy Beach, as one of the few significant American women composers in a field almost entirely dominated by men.

Warren entered the world with the new century, on February 23, 1900. Her mother was a fine amateur pianist who had studied with a pupil of Liszt. Her father, a Los Angeles businessman, had once considered a concert career as a tenor. By the time Elinor arrived, he had confined his singing to evenings at home, accompanied by his wife, and to his church choir, as well as several of the excellent choral groups that flourished in Los Angeles during the first half of the century.

From the beginning, the Warrens' only child was exposed to music. Besides music in the home, she was taken by her parents to hear recitals by great artists of the day who passed through Southern California on their concert tours; she also attended matinee performances of the Los Angeles Symphony, forerunner of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her early affinity for choral music was stimulated by accompanying her father to rehearsals and performances of the Orpheus Club, a Los Angeles men's chorus of which he was president.

At the age of four, Elinor liked to sit beside her mother at the piano and pick out pieces which the astonished parent copied into a notebook. Not until she was five did the youngster begin music lessons. She recalled that shortly thereafter she was able to do the copying herself.