May Howlett

May Howlett Brief Biography

May Howlett (born 1931) is an Australian composer and actress. She earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1954, from Melbourne University. In 1955 she earned a Diploma of Education. In 1971 she was given her first commission, which was a commission for a cantata for the first concert of the Canberra New Music Society. She was then offered the first composition scholarship at the Canberra School of Music. In 1973 she toured with Young Opera for the Arts Council of New South Wales. Subsequently she appeared in an ABC TV opera production of Malcolm Williamson's Violins of St. Jacques, and became involved in acting. For approximately the next twenty years she acted, appearing in six films, various television shows and series, and on the stage. She also took her original one-woman show to Carnegie Hall. In 1981 she toured with Barry Humphries as his associate pianist. In 1987 she began composing again, and also became a production coordinator and assistant director with the New South Wales Department of Education. In 1989, she created the State Drama Camp and the State Drama Festival. In 1996 she and Audley Green received an artist-in-residency to complete a work-in-progress for harpsichord, viola and cello. In 2006, she earned a master's degree in music from Macquarie University; her thesis was titled The Production of a Contemporary Chamber Opera, and was accompanied by a revised score, with piano reduction and workshop recording, of her chamber opera, The Boy Who Wasn't There.

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