Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts



Committee Chair

Janet Page

Committee Member

Artina McCain

Committee Member

Kevin Richmond

Committee Member

Timothy Shiu


ABSTRACT Gibbs, Sara Rebecca. DMA. The University of Memphis. May 2023. An Analysis of Ronald Stevenson’s Peter Grimes Piano Fantasy. Major Professor: Dr. Janet K. Page Ronald Stevenson (1928-2015) was a composer and pianist who was born in England and died in Scotland. He had a varied compositional output that included compositions based on other composers’ works that are more than transcriptions. Stevenson was acquainted with Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) and wrote the Peter Grimes Piano Fantasy based on Britten’s opera Peter Grimes. This dissertation is an analysis of the Peter Grimes Piano Fantasy and how Stevenson aptly depicted the opera’s main motives and atmospheric elements in just under seven minutes though the opera is over two hours in length. The goal of this analysis is to give the performer a more informed interpretation of the Peter Grimes Piano Fantasy. I will give a background on the composer and composition then compare it to the work on which it is based. The first chapter is a biography of Ronald Stevenson. The second chapter is an overview of the piano fantasia genre in order to show the placement of the Peter Grimes Piano Fantasy within it. The third chapter is a background of the Piano Fantasy and Britten’s opera and the inspirations behind both. The fourth chapter analyzes the form of the Piano Fantasy and its major motives and thematic material and how it is based upon the opera. It delves into primary thematic motives borrowed from the opera and how Stevenson organizes them. The fifth chapter analyzes how the orchestral material has been transcribed into the Piano Fantasy. It shows side-by-side analysis of the opera and the Piano Fantasy and how Stevenson either kept the material the same or changed it to fit the piano. The sixth chapter concerns the vocal motives borrowed from Britten’s opera and how Stevenson uses them thematically to present the storyline of the opera in miniature form. He does this through layering motivic material and atmospheric elements from the opera, as seen in chapters 4-6. The last chapter summarizes the relationship between the Peter Grimes Piano Fantasy and Britten’s opera.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access