Ursula Mamlok, born 1923 in Berlin began her musical studies at an early age with Gustav Ernest, professor at the Humboldt University. Persecuted by the Nazis she had to leave Berlin in February 1939 going to Guayaquil/Ecuador with her parents. Not being able to continue her studies in Ecuador she sent the manuscripts of her numerous compositions to conservatories in U. S.. The Mannes School of Music in New York gave her a full scholarship and she left without her parents at age 17 for New York in 1940. There her teacher was the conductor George Szell. Ursula Mamlok married Dwight Mamlok in 1947 and returned to school in 1955 to obtain her Bachelor and Master of Music with Vittorio Giannini at the Manhattan School of Music. Already a scholarship at the music institute of Black Mountain College in 1944 gave her the opportunity to work with Ernst Krenek und Eduard Steuermann which started her desire to change her to style from less complex tonal music to complex non tonal sounds. Her study of twelve tone music afforded her to employ Arnold Schönberg‘s system, however modified to suit her own work.
Her later studies with Roger Sessions, Jerzy Fitelberg, Stefan Wolpe, and Ralph Shapey proved to be a major influence in her musical development from 1960 on. Ursula Mamlok taught composition at New York Univer sity, Temple University, City University and over 40 years composition at the Manhattan School of Music. Her work list encompasses over 60 works: for orchestra, chamber music, vocal music, compositions for solo instruments as well as music for children. Her works are published by C.F. Peters New York, Mc Ginnis and Marx, Theodore Presser and Furore. Since 2006 Ursula Mamlok lived at her birthplace Berlin. After her death on 4 May 2016, the Dwight and Ursula Mamlok Foundation has been established to promote concerts with contemporary music and support young musicians.
Ursula Mamlok was honoured among others by the following awards:
1968 and 1981 National Endowment for the Arts
1981 American Academy and Institute of Art and Letters
1981 and 1982 The Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Recording Award
1989 Commission of the Koussevitzky Foundation
1994 Fromm Foundation Grant
1995 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation