Elinor Remick Warren
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
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