Rhian Samuel was educated in Britain and the United States. She completed a PhD at Washington University, St Louis, and thereafter taught Theory and Composition at the St Louis Conservatory of Music before returning to the UK in 1984, subsequently teaching at Reading University, City University, London, and Magdalen College Oxford. Her large-scale works include Elegy-Symphony (1981, St Louis SO); Tirluniau/Landscapes (2000, BBC Proms, BBCNOW), and Clytemnestra (BBC commission). She has written a number of works for solo harp, commissioned by Elinor Bennett and by the Royal Academy of Music, London. She co-edited the New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. She received an Hon. Doctorate of Music from the University of Wales in 2016.