NICOLA LeFanu, one of York’s most distinguished composers, is celebrating her 70th birthday this year.

To commemorate this anniversary, the York Late Music concert series has commissioned a new string quartet from LeFanu, to be premiered by the Bingham String Quartet in all all-female programme on Saturday (September 2) at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York.

Born in Wickham Bishops on April 28 1947, LeFanu studied music at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and as a Harkness Fellow at Harvard University, where she won the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1972. She went on to become a composer, teacher and director, holding a variety of prestigious teaching posts, most notably as Professor of Music at the University of York from 1994 to 2008.

She has written more than 100 compositions, including works for orchestra and eight operas, and her music has been performed widely and broadcast too, with many of her pieces being available on CD. BBC Radio 3 marked her 70th birthday by making her Composer of the Week earlier this year.

LeFanu's mother, Elizabeth Maconchy, was a groundbreaking composer, in a period when it was markedly harder for a woman to make her way in this creative sphere, and one of her ancestors was the gothic/ghost story writer Sheridan LeFanu. Her husband is the Australian composer David Lumsdaine.

Alongside the premiere of LeFanu’s string quartet, the Late Music Nicola LeFanu Celebration Concert includes a performance of Elizabeth Maconchy’s Fifth String Quartet plus quartets by two of LeFanu’s former pupils, Sadie Harrison and Valerie Pearson. Minna Keal’s Fantasy Quartet completes the 7.30pm programme.

Late Music director David Lancaster says: "We're delighted to be able to pay tribute to Nicola’s exceptional contribution to the music of our time. It's all the more fitting that this should take place in a concert comprising entirely female composers. For 2017, Late Music set itself the target of ensuring that 50 per cent of its performers and composers would be female. We're delighted with how this has gone and Nicola’s concert will be a wonderful contribution to this overall aim."

Tickets cost £10, concessions £8, on the door or at Nicola LeFanu will give a pre-concert talk at 6.45pm; admission is free and includes a complimentary glass of wine.