- Kendra Preston Leonard
Talma, Louise (31 October 1906–13 August 1996), composer and educator, was born to Alma Cecile Garrigues, an American professional soprano of French and Danish extraction who took the name Cecile Talma around 1900, and a father whose identity remains unknown. Because of discrepancies in the historical record, Talma’s exact birth date and birthplace are uncertain; however, she used 31 October 1906 as her birth date all of her life and believed herself to have been born in Arcachon, France. Mother and daughter returned to the United States in 1914, settling in New York City. Talma grew up surrounded by music, but she was also an excellent science student and considered becoming a chemist before deciding on a career as a musician. After graduating from Wadleigh High School for Girls, Talma entered the Institute of Musical Arts (now the Juilliard School) in New York in 1922, where she studied both piano and composition. She later earned a bachelor of music degree from New York University in 1931 and a master of arts degree from Columbia University in 1933, having written her master’s thesis on “Horns and Trumpets as Used in the Orchestra from 1700 to 1900.”...