De Varon, Lorna Cooke

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Lorna Cooke de Varon, choral conductor, was born in Western Springs, Ill., on January 17, 1921, daughter of Vernon Walter and Hazel Mildred (Watts) Cooke. De Varon earned her BA from Wellesley College in 1942, where she studied theory with Nadia Boulanger and her MA from Radcliffe College in 1945. At Radcliffe, de Varon studied conducting with G. Wallace Woodworth; choral composition with Archibald T. Davison, and composition with Walter Piston. De Varon served as Assistant Conductor of the Radcliffe Choral Society, Radcliffe-Harvard choir, from 1942-1944. From there, de Varon went on to conduct the Bryn Mawr College Choir from 1944-1947. She spent two summers studying conducting. In 1947, de Varon became the choral conductor and chairperson of the choral department at New England Conservatory. She would retain this position at NEC until 1988. During this time, the NEC Chorus performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for over thirty years, from 1953-1986. The NEC Chorus made more than a dozen recordings with the BSO for RCA Victor and Deutschegrammophone, some of which earned the Grand Pris du Disque or the National Academy of Recording Artists award. The Conservatory chorus also took numerous domestic and international tours during de Varon's tenure, including trips to Europe, the Soviet Union, Israel, Puerto Rico, and China. In addition to the Conservatory, de Varon conducted in many other capacities. She served as conductor and teacher of choral conducting at Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood from 1952-1966; conductor of the Israel Summer Festival, Zimriya, 1977-1979; conductor of the New England Conservatory Camerata (1989-2001); conductor of the Longy Chamber Chorus (1988-2005); guest conductor of the Cameron Singers, Israel; guest conductor of Radio Chorus, Beijing, China, 1987; Chairman of the Choral Institute of Composers Conference, summers; member of the choral advancement panel, National Endowment for the Arts; conductor, New England Conservatory Chamber Singers at Monadnock Music Festival, summers 1982-1988. De Varon also served as editor and arranger of choral works for E.C. Schirmer and Galaxy Publications. Among the awards that de Varon has received are Recipient Medal for Distinguished Achievement, City of Boston, 1967; Medal for Distinguished Achievement, Radcliffe Graduate Society, 1972; Medal for Distinguished Achievement, Wellesley College, 1978; Medal of Israel, 1977; Ludi Award, New England Conservatory, 1983; Harvard Glee Club Medal, 1987. Lorna Cooke de Varon was married to Jose de Varon on May 14, 1944. The couple had four children: David, Joanna, Cristina, and Alexander..

From the description of Lorna Cooke de Varon collection, 1942-2005 (bulk 1950-1988). (New England Conservatory of Music). WorldCat record id: 663099256

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Avshalomov, Jacob, 1919-. City upon a hill / Jacob Avshalomov. New England Conservatory of Music, Harriet M. Spaulding Library
creatorOf Molloy, James L., 1837-1909. Love's old sweet song. New England Conservatory of Music, Harriet M. Spaulding Library
creatorOf De Varon, Lorna Cooke. Lorna Cooke de Varon collection, 1942-2005 (bulk 1950-1988). New England Conservatory of Music, Harriet M. Spaulding Library
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associatedWith Avshalomov, Jacob, 1919- person
associatedWith Molloy, James L., 1837-1909. person
associatedWith New England Conservatory of Music. corporateBody
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Birth 1921-01-17

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