Women classical composers – the August edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are two female classical composers whose works I have encountered, with links to music samples for each of them.

Portrait by Bernardo Strozzi, believed to be of Barbara Strozzi

Barbara Strozzi was an Italian Baroque composer. (died 1977)

She was lucky for her time, as her encouraged her musical ambition. She wrote for voice.

Find info on her compositions here

 

Betsy Jolas is a modern French composer. (born 1926)

 

Sally Beamish is a modern British composer of chamber, vocal, choral and orchestral music as well as works for

musical theatre, film and television.  (born 1956)

 

Rebecca Clarke was an English composer. (died 1979)

Her work did not receive the recognition then that it does today and was largely forgotten until the 1970s.

Find info on her here

 

Cécile Chaminade

Cécile Chaminade was a French composer. (died 1944)

She learned piano early in her childhood but her father disapproved of her musical education so she had to continue her studies privately. Her own compositions were very popular in her day.

Find more info on her at AllMusic and on Wikipedia.  

 

Marion Bauer was an American composer. (died 1955)

Marion Bauer

She wrote at least 160 compositions. 

 

Tera de Marez Oyens was a Dutch composer who wrote over 200 works of music. (died 1996)

 

Alma Mahler

Alma Mahler was an Austrian-American composer. Seventeen songs by her survive. (died 1964)

Women classical composers – the July edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are some female classical composers whose works I have encountered, with links to music samples for each of them.

 

Ruth Crawford Seeger

1) Ruth Crawford Seeger (July 3, 1901 – Nov 18, 1953) (née Ruth Porter Crawford) was a modernist composer and later composed folk music.

 

 

 

 

Pauline Viardot

2) Pauline Viardot (July 18, 1821 – May 18, 1910) (née García)  was a soprano who began composing when she was young.

 

 

 

 

3) Marianna Auenbrugger (July 19, 1759 – Aug 25, 1782) was a well regarded Viennese pianist and composer.

 

 

Sophie Menter, painted by Ilya Repin.

4) Sophie Menter (July 29, 1846 — Feb 23, 1918) was a piano virtuoso and composer.

 

 

 

5) Suzanne Giraud (born 31 July 1958) is a contemporary French composer.

 

 

Sansan Chien, photo by
Wen-Chung Chiang

6) Sansan Chien (July 1, 1967 – Oct 24, 2011) Taiwanese composer. (I used google translate for the song titles so if they’re not perfect I apologize)

 

 

7) Julia Tsenova (July 30, 1948 – April 11, 2010) was a Bulgarian pianist and composer. 

 

 

 

Women classical composers – the May edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are five female classical composers whose works I enjoy, with links to songs for each of them.

 

Julia Ward Howe

Julia Ward Howe (May 27, 1819 – October 17, 1910) was an all-round super woman, an author, poet abolitionist, social activist, and suffragist.

 

Anne Dudley (born May 7) was the first BBC Concert Orchestra‘s Composer in Association.

 

Debbie Wiseman (born May 10) composes for film and tv.

 

Maria Theresia Paradis

Judith Weir (born May 11) writes operas.

 

Maria Theresia von Paradis (May 15, 1759 – February 1, 1824) may have been Mozart’s inspiration for his Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major.

 

 

 

Women classical composers – the April Edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are four female classical composers whose works I enjoy, with links to songs for each of them.

 

Elisabetta Brusa (April 3, 1954) is an Italian composer. She started writing piano pieces as a child.

 

Germaine Tailleferre (image source)

Germaine Tailleferre (April 19, 1892 – November 7, 1983) was a French composer and the only female member of the group of composers known as Les Six.

 

 

 

 

Ethel Smyth (image source)

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (April 23, 1858 – May 8, 1944) was an English composer and suffragist. Her father was very opposed to her making a career in music.

 

 

 

 

 

Luise Adolpha Le Beau (April 25, 1850 – July 17, 1927) took piano lessons with one of my favourite female pianist and composers, Clara Schumann.

Luise Adolpha Le Beau (image source)

 

 

 

Women classical composers – the March edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are four female classical composers whose works I enjoy, with links to songs for each of them.

margaret_bondsMargaret Bonds (March 3, 1913 – April 26, 1972) was an African American composer and pianist. She is remembered for working with one of my favourite poets, Langston Hughes.

 

 

 

 

Jean Coulthard
Jean Coulthard

Jean Coulthard (February 10, 1908 – March 9, 2000) was a Canadian composer and part of a trio of women composers that included Barbara Pentland and Violet Archer.

 

 

 

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre
Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (March 17, 1665 – June 27, 1729) was a well known French harpsichordist and composer in her time.

 

 

 

Els Aarne (March 30, 1917 – June 14, 1995) was an Estonian composer and pedagogue.

Women classical composers – the February edition

Like most things historical, women have been underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them, women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure. So it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are 5 female classical composers whose works I have on my iPod right now, with links to songs for each of them.

 

Grażyna Bacewicz
Grażyna Bacewicz

Grażyna Bacewicz (Feb 5, 1909) was a respected composer and violinist from with a Lithuanian father and Polish mother, and she chose to identify as Polish. She lived in Warsaw during the second world war and gave secret concerts.

 

 

Miina Härma
Miina Härma

Miina Härma (Feb 9, 1864) was a well known Estonian composer. She composed mostly vocal work.

 

 

 

 

Adela Verne
Adela Verne

Adela Verne (Feb 27 1877) was among the greatest woman pianists of her era and a composer. 

 

 

Pía Sebastiani
Pía Sebastiani

Pía Sebastiani (Feb 27, 1925) was a pianist and composer from Argentina. I can’t find any video or audio of her own compositions that I can link here, but I did find a video about her and you can find a few recordings of other composers works in iTunes.

 

 

 

 

Eugenia Manolidou (or Manolides) (Feb 27, 1975) is a current Greek composer.

Hymn To The Moon 

 

These are your marching songs

I will be participating in a sister version of the Woman’s March on Washington today. I attend in solidarity with all the power minority groups in America (not just the women), and because there are pseudo conservative politicians in Canada that are parroting Trump style hatred, and I won’t sit back and let anyone erode my rights or the rights of anyone else.  

On the train heading there I will have my ‘I am woman’ playlist on my iPod. Below is a sample of some of the songs on that playlist. Songs to march to, songs to stand firm to, songs to sing and dance and celebrate progress that cannot be stopped.

  1. Helen Reddy – I Am Woman  (I am woman, hear me roar, In numbers too big to ignore)

  2. Dolly Parton – Just Because I’m A Woman  (Just let me tell you this, Then we’ll both know where we stand, My mistakes are no worse than yours, Just because I’m a woman)

  3. Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me (I don’t tell you what to say, Oh, don’t tell you what to do, So just let me be myself, That’s all I ask of you)

  4. Loretta Lynn – The Pill  (There’s a gonna be some changes made, Right here on nursery hill)

  5. Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out  (The time has come for me, To break out of the shell, I have to shout, That I’m coming out)

  6. Lyn Collins – You Can’t Love Me If You Don’t Respect Me (Why dontcha, Step back and set me free, Because you can’t love me if you don’t respect me)

  7. Dolly Parton – I’m Fed Up With You  (I’m fed up with you and the way that you do, I used to love you now I change my mind, And I’m fed up with you feedin’ me a line)

  8.  Dolly Parton – Working Girl (Some find her to aggressive, she don’t know how to stop, Cause she’s the kind that don’t look down until it’s from the top, She’s elegant and stylish, French perfume and a fur, Designer clothes by Halston and Diane Von Furstenburg, And she’s a working girl)

  9. Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made for Walkin’  (You keep playing where you shouldn’t be playing, And you keep thinking that you’ll never get burnt,hah)

  10. Eurythmics, Aretha Franklin – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves  (Now this is a song to celebrate, The conscious liberation of the female state!)

  11. Aretha Franklin – Respect  (All I’m askin’, Is for a little respect when you come home)

  12. Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl (When she talks, I hear the revolution, In her hips, there’s revolutions)

  13. Sarah Jones – Your Revolution (Your revolution will not happen between these thighs)

  14. Nellie McKay – Mother of Pearl (Feminists don’t have a sense of humor)

  15. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive (I used to cry, But now I hold my head up high and you see me)

  16. Destiny’s Child – Survivor (You thought that I’d be weak without you, but I’m stronger)

  17. Chiwoniso – Rebel Woman (I know the freedom’s been hard won, It’s been so hard won, But as you weep, rebel woman, Remember you were strong)

  18. X-Ray Spex – Oh Bondage Up Yours ! (Oh bondage up yours, oh bondage no more)

  19. Sleater-Kinney – #1 Must Have (Now I’m spending all my days at girlpower.com)

  20. Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.  (And nothing good gonna come to ya til you do right by me, Brother you wait and see)

  21. Salt ‘n Pepa – None of Your Business (How many rules am I to break before you understand, That your double-standards don’t mean shit to me?)

  22. Joan Jett – Bad Reputation (I’ve never been afraid of any deviation, An’ I don’t really care, If ya think I’m strange, I ain’t gonna change)

  23. Fugazi – Suggestion  (Why can’t I walk down a street free of suggestion? Is my body the only trait in the eye’s of men?)

  24. Sonic Youth – Flower  (Support the power of women)

  25. Destiny’s Child – Independent Women, Pt. I  (Try to control me boy, you get dismissed)

  26. Deap Vally – Woman Of Intention (You think you pull the strings, But I can see through your stains, You think your methods are gentle, But baby, they’re just mental)

  27. Selena Gomez – Who Says (Who says you’re not star potential? Who says you’re not presidential?)

  28. Meredith Brooks – Bitch (I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed)

  29. Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Some boys take a beautiful girl, And hide her away from the rest of the world, I want to be the one to walk in the sun)

  30. Lady Gaga – Hair (I just wanna be myself, And I want you to love me for who I am)

  31. Pink – F**kin’ Perfect (Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood, Miss No-Way-It’s-All-Good, It didn’t slow me down.)

  32. Britney Spears – Stronger (I’ve had enough, I’m not your property as from today, baby, You might think that I won’t make it on my own, But now I’m, Stronger than yesterday)

  33. Christina Aguilera – Can’t Hold Us Down (So what am I not supposed to have an opinion, Should I keep quiet just because I’m a women)

  34. Mary Chapin Carpenter – He Thinks He’ll Keep Her (The safest place you’ll ever find, At least until you change your mind)

  35. Shawn Colvin – Sunny Came Home  (She’s out there on her own and she’s alright)

  36. Janet Jackson – Nasty (I’m not a prude (no), I just want some respect (that’s right))

  37. Lily Allen – Fuck You  (Look inside your tiny mind, Now look a bit harder, Cause we’re so uninspired, So sick and tired of all the, Hatred you harbor)

There were many more songs but these were ones that come from my personal experiences of music and of life. I excluded some that spoke to experiences I have no first hand first hand knowledge of (like Four Women by Nina Simone). I recognize that they tell a story that has to be told, but I thought they’d be better left to those who can understand their lyrics first hand.

Feature image courtesy of Refinery29