Edward H. Margetson

Biography

From New York Times Oct. 14, 1974 page 39

Edward H. Margetson, a West Indian composer who died in New York in 1962 at the age of 70, was honored yesterday afternoon by the performance of several of his works in Alice Tully Hall. The program was presented by the Triad Chorale, directed by Noel Da Costa, assisted by the Schubert Music Society, which Mr. Margetson founded in 1927.

In some of his pieces the composer made good use of the Caribbean folk tunes he had known in his youth. They formed the material of the String Quartet that was played and gave color and melodic vitality to the well‐crafted but academic score.

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From Historical St. Kitts website

In 1919 Margetson decided to go to the United States. It meant making do with a lot of things until he had the musical education that he had dreamed of. Soon after his arrival in New York, Margetson took on the post of Organist and Minister of Music for the Church of the Crucifixion, and continued to hold that post until his retirement. He attended Columbia University in 1921, 1922 and from 1924 to 1926 where his compositions were featured in annual concerts.

Dr. Daniel Mason , the head of the Music Department at Columbia University in an article in The Herald Tribune of the 3rd May 1943 said:

There is in Margetson’s best work a directness, a wholeheartedness, and therefore a persuasive power that is rare nowadays.

In commenting on the significance of these awards, Mason noted that Margetson had been

working quietly among his people in Harlem for nearly a quarter of a century has made in his unostentatious way a contribution, far deeper than many showier ones, both to our creative musical art and to our social democracy.

Margetson’s quiet and unassuming personality encouraged confidence in those who came in contact with him. His unpretentious contributions continued to span the miles to reach his homeland. In 1948 at the height of the Thirteen Week Strike, Rufus King travelled from England to St. Kitts in order to mediate between the Trades and Labour Union and the Sugar Association. He stopped in New York to visit Margetson who expressed concerns over the plight of the island and urged the restoration of peace between the battling sides.

Failing health forced Margetson to retire as Director of the Society in 1960 and on the 22nd January 1962, he passed away leaving behind a wealth of musical compositions.

 

 

ACE Publications

1 title(s)
Composer Title SCORING/INSTRUMENTATION Year
Edward H. Margetson Caribbean String Quartet string quartet

Additional Works