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Tui St. George Tucker was an American modernist composer, conductor, recorder virtuoso and creator of unique musical instruments. Her compositions often feature microtonality and are strongly influenced by jazz, Buddhism, the music of Medieval Europe, and more. She would develop special recorders with extra holes, in addition to unique fingerings for modern recorders to allow for the playing of quarter tones, typically in 24-tone equal temperament.
Tucker was born in Fullerton, California, the daughter of an English father and a mother from New Zealand. Her family often referred to her as "Tui"; named for the eponymous bird native to New Zealand, where her mother was born. She attended Eagle Rock High School in northeast Los Angeles, California, graduating in 1941. She then attended Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1941 to 1944.
After graduating from Occidental College, Tucker moved to New York City, where she began to establish herself as both a recorder player and a composer. She studied with Marcel Moyse and Nadia Boulanger, and she performed with the New York Pro Musica, the Juilliard Orchestra, and the American Chamber Orchestra.
In 1950, Tucker married Vera Lachmann, a poet and artist. The couple moved to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in 1955, where they founded Camp Catawba, a summer camp for boys. Tucker served as the camp's music director until 1970.
Tucker continued to compose and perform throughout her life. She was a founding member of the American Recorder Society, and she served as its president from 1974 to 1976. She was also a member of the Composers' Guild of New York, the American Music Center, and the Society for New Music.
Tucker's music has been performed and recorded extensively. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Music.
Tui St. George Tucker died in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in 2004. She was 79 years old.