‘Imogen Holst is a slight, fair-haired figure, usually armed with masses of work to do in trains or other unlikely places, finding time to seem to be in at least three places at once and to write at least three books at a time. … She describes her own compositions as ‘utilitarian, for learners or when asked’, but everything she does has a quality all her own, where perception and imagination grace knowledge and mastery of her subject.’ Ursula Vaughan Williams, 1966.
Imogen's bookplate reflecting her interest in folk dancing.
This extensive archive principally comprises the personal papers and music manuscripts of Imogen Holst, 1907-1984. Holst was a composer, arranger, educator, writer on music, conductor, festival administrator and daughter of Gustav Holst.
Imogen moved to Aldeburgh in 1952 to work as Britten’s music assistant, a post she held until 1964 when she decided to concentrate on editing and promoting the music of her father. She remained a friend and close associate of Britten and was artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 1956 to 1977.
Every aspect of Imogen’s work and passions are represented in her papers, from her own compositions to her work on her father’s music, from her love of folk song and dancing to her active promotion of music in the community. There are music manuscripts and published music of both Imogen and her father, with many of the scores annotated for revision or performance. There are Imogen’s letters, diaries and journals, scrapbooks, programmes and press cuttings, photographs, publications, writings, lectures and working files. The collection also includes important personal papers of her father such as letters, diaries and notebooks, as well as papers of the Holst Foundation and G and I Holst Limited.
To search the online archive catalogue for this collection, follow the link from this page, then search the archive catalogue and enter the collection reference HOL in the search field RefNo.