Imogen Holst (1907-1984) was the only child of composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934), best known for The Planets. Imogen herself is known particularly for her work as the musical assistant of Benjamin Britten and for her longstanding contribution to the Aldeburgh Festival. However she also had an exceptional, wide-ranging, but lesser known career as a composer, educator, writer and ‘music traveller’ for the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts – work which put her at forefront of the development of music education and amateur music-making in England in the twentieth century.

In 2015 The Britten-Pears Foundation received an award from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives for the project ‘Hopes, dreams and difficulties: the archives of Imogen Holst’. The goal of our project is to make the archives of Imogen Holst available and accessible to a wide audience of international scholars and the general public with an interest in the life and work of Imogen Holst and her father Gustav.

Over the next 11 months we will be:

– cataloguing the collection to file and item level, and making the catalogue available online

– repackaging archives that exist in a wide variety of formats into conservation grade packaging

– digitising select sections of the archive in order to preserve items as well as to provide remote access to researchers

– utilising the expert knowledge of volunteers who knew Imogen and her music to help catalogue the collection

– capturing the stories of people who knew, worked with or were taught by Imogen

By making this unique collection available to a wider audience, we hope ultimately to raise the profile and reputation of a significant figure in twentieth-century British music.


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  1. Pingback: Incipit | holst archive project

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