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Catherine Murphy Urner

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Name  Catherine Urner

Role  Composer
Catherine Murphy Urner httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons44
Died  April 30, 1942, San Diego, California, United States

Catherine Murphy Urner Shatto (23 March 1891 – 30 April 1942) was an American composer.



Catherine Murphy Urner was born in Mitchell, Indiana, the third of seven children of Southern Illinois Normal College principal Edward Everett Urner (later a Methodist minister) and writer Jessie Robertson Urner. She studied piano, voice and composition at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, Peabody Conservatory and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912. She continued her studies at the University of California at Berkeley and with Charles Koechlin in Paris from 1920-21.

Urner worked as a professor and director of vocal music at Mills College in Oakland, California from 1921-24. After leaving Mills College, she devoted her time to performing, composing and touring in the U.S. and Europe with the assistance of Charles Koechlin. She also collected Native American tribal melodies which she incorporated into her compositions. Her first string quartet premiered in 1925 at Salle Pleyel in Paris. She arranged for Koechlin to teach a course at the University of California in 1928, and afterward lived with Koechlin in Paris until 1933, collaborating on a number of works. In 1937 she returned to California and married organist and composer Charles Rollins Shatto (1908–1983).

She died in San Diego, and her papers are housed at the University of California at Berkeley Library.


Her archived works include over eighty songs, a number of Native American songs, twenty-four choral works and eight orchestral works. Selected compositions include:

  • The Bride of a God with Charles Koechlin
  • Come Away, Death
  • Song of the Sea
  • Song from "April"
  • Le Papillon
  • Quatre Melodies, collection of songs
  • Ici-bas
  • Colloque Sentimental
  • References

    Catherine Murphy Urner Wikipedia

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