José Retra (°1962) studied piano with Arthur Hartong at the Conservatory of Arnhem and took private composition lessons with Andries van Rossem. In 1999 she obtained the M.A. Psychology for Musicians at the University of Sheffield (UK) and a PhD in Early Childhood Music Education at the University of Exeter (UK) in 2011.
In recent years, the urge arose to focus more on composing. She is currently studying composition at LUCA School Of Arts - Campus Lemmens (Leuven) with Pieter Schuermans, Jeroen D'hoe & Maarten Van Ingelgem.
Retra is a music teacher at Kunstencentrum Het Klooster in Woerden (NL) and is a reviewer for the biennial MERYC conference on research into music and young children.
Her compositional oeuvre includes works for solo piano, voice with piano accompaniment, chamber music and orchestra. In 2022, Orkest van Het Groene Hart (Utrecht) performed the commissioned work 1672. Catalan pianist Carol Ruiz played her piano work Perpétuel during a recital in January 2023. In 1996, her chamber opera The Bridge, reached the final of the Stephen Oliver Prize.
Also in 1996 during the women's choir festival Vrouwenstemmen in Etten (NL) her work Juliet for women's choir and piano was performed. She considers it to be an imporant task to write good music for young children.
Choral works (selection)
- Juliet (1996), female choir and piano, available through the composer
- Le Secret (2022), SmSAA and piano
- Der Weiher (2023), SATB and piano, available through the composer
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