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It seems the vast majority of the renowned classical composers are men. I am, however, curious as to if there were many female composers in this time period. While of course, it was a historical time frame when women were not really valued in such creative endeavors, surely there are some who have left their own stamp on the "repertoire of everything".

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Well, there's Clara Schumann, who was as a pianist at some time even more popular than her husband Robert. I'm not sure how popular her compositions were. Mendelssohn's sister Fanny also composed and apparently influenced her brother somewhat (Fanny's death broke her brother who died later the same year). And of course there is Wolfgang's sister Nannerl.

The thing is that all of those women I mentioned are mostly remembered because of their links to known male composers. Ambroise Thomas said of Cécile Chaminade: "This is not a woman who composes, but a composer who is woman." Attitudes like that didn't begin to change until late 19th century. I'd say there has always been good female composers, but the notable ones didn't start emerging until the 20th century, and you seem to be more interested in the 1700-1900 period.

Anyway, you can start by looking up Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Cécile Chaminade and Nadia & Lili Boulanger.


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Chopin: op. 25 no. 11
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Chaminade is probably the only female composer whose music I actually ever saw programmed. I've seen it twice already in fact!

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Two great composers whose music I want to play:

Galina Ustvolskaya
Rebecca Clarck



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Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

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One of the foremost women composers active today is Roxanna Panufnik, daughter of Andrzej Panufnik. I don't know of any music for piano, but she is highly regarded in the UK as a church music/choral composer.

Her music pops up all the time in the cathedrals and large parish churches. I once heard her Westminster Mass (commissioned by Westminster Cathedral -not Abbey- in London.) A very accessible work, expertly written for spacious acoustics.


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I spent years thinking Camille Saint Saens was a woman

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Two early composers who were women and spent a large portion of their life's work composing: Hildegard of Bingen (medieval) and Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (early baroque). These women each composed a substantial body of work and I feel are in a different category from women who had a talent for composing but never got beyond the dabbling stage because they already had an attractive career doing something else (Clara Wieck Schumann) or because family and society were too rigid (Nannerl Mozart).

Jacquet de la Guerre wrote some significant music for keyboard and I feel pianists ought to know her work.

Barbara Strozzi is another early baroque one but I don't know enough about her to know whether she's more a composer or more something else.

Some present day women composers I really like are Saariaho, Higdon and Tabakova.


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Originally Posted by Ritzycat
some who have left their own stamp on the "repertoire of everything".

If you listen to one of the suites by Jacquet de la Guerre, and then a suite by Handel or CPE Bach, you can definitely hear linkages. I don't know exactly who influenced whom and how, but it's clear she was fully part of the composing world of her time.


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Originally Posted by Francisco Scalco
I spent years thinking Camille Saint Saens was a woman


Sometimes he was.

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Originally Posted by Ritzycat
It seems the vast majority of the renowned classical composers are men. I am, however, curious as to if there were many female composers in this time period. While of course, it was a historical time frame when women were not really valued in such creative endeavors, surely there are some who have left their own stamp on the "repertoire of everything".

Amy Beach is the most widely respected female composer of the 20th century. Having endured decades of abuse from her physician husband (who forbade her to concertize), once free, she produced a sizeable amount of works, many of which are performed today.

In addition, Anna Magdalena has now been credited by several scholars as having actually penned many of her husband's works.

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Originally Posted by Francisco Scalco
I spent years thinking Camille Saint Saens was a woman


Oh I think a lot of people thought that!

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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by Francisco Scalco
I spent years thinking Camille Saint Saens was a woman


Sometimes he was.


LOL

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Amy Beach was an American composer who wrote some nice music, her most well-known composition is the piano quintet. Also, her Barcarolle for solo piano is very nice too.
http://imslp.org/wiki/3_Morceaux_Caract%C3%A9ristiques,_Op.28_(Beach,_Amy_Marcy)
Oops, I see Louis already pointed out Amy Beach. She's great and deserves the recogition! smile

Last edited by bplary1300; 08/14/14 12:32 PM.


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Among early- and mid-20th century Americans, you should look up Ruth Crawford (sometimes called by her married name Ruth Crawford Seeger) and another woman just coming into prominence, Johanna Beyer.

Crawford's "Study in Mixed Accents" is pretty much in the repertoire these days.

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Originally Posted by bplary1300
Amy Beach was an American composer who wrote some nice music, her most well-known composition is the piano quintet. Also, her Barcarolle for solo piano is very nice too.
http://imslp.org/wiki/3_Morceaux_Caract%C3%A9ristiques,_Op.28_(Beach,_Amy_Marcy)
Oops, I see Louis already pointed out Amy Beach. She's great and deserves the recogition! smile

Thank your for your post, however, your link did not come through, so we could access it.

I list the following Youtube link so that all may enjoy this great lady's music, and please do not hesitate to click on the subsequent pages. She was most prolific considering the fact that until her husband died she was not allowed to compose or perform.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=amy+beach

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Originally Posted by Louis Podesta
Originally Posted by bplary1300
Amy Beach was an American composer who wrote some nice music, her most well-known composition is the piano quintet. Also, her Barcarolle for solo piano is very nice too.
Amy Beach Link
Oops, I see Louis already pointed out Amy Beach. She's great and deserves the recogition! smile

Thank your for your post, however, your link did not come through, so we could access it.

I list the following Youtube link so that all may enjoy this great lady's music, and please do not hesitate to click on the subsequent pages. She was most prolific considering the fact that until her husband died she was not allowed to compose or perform.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=amy+beach


I link-ified it for you.

And here's yours more link-ified:

Amy Beach on Youtube

Last edited by Damon; 08/14/14 10:26 PM.
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Or if you wanted several hundred modern-day women composers, you can just check the Helpful List.

Last edited by hreichgott; 08/15/14 03:26 AM.

Heather W. Reichgott, piano

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I page turned for a trio by one Ethel Smyth yesterday. It was rather good.

Btw, in what way was Camille Saint Saens sometimes a woman?

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