Classical 91.5

Women in Classical Music

If you look at the listings of the major orchestras in America you will see two things in common; very few of them are programming major pieces by women composers, and almost none have a woman on the podium. Despite the abundance of wonderful compositions by women, the world of classical music has been, for centuries, a man’s world.

Classical 91.5 is committed to help turn things around by celebrating the achievements of women:  from Hildegarde of Bingen to Jennifer Higdon, performing, conducting, composing and more. You'll hear women highlighted every day, not just during Women's History Month in March, but year round.  It’s time.

There's lots more content online, from blog posts to videos, resources for research, a celebration of Women's Suffrage and even some Classics for Kids audio features and Quizzes on the right side of the screen.  Please explore the site to find out more.

Learn more about:

Marin Alsop, conductor
Amy Beach, composer
Hildegard von Bingen, composer and mystic      
Lili & Nadia Boulanger, musicians & teacher
Francesca Caccini, lutenist and composer
Sarah Caldwell, conductor
Cecile Chaminade, composer
Leonora d'Este, princess, musician & nun
JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Louise Farrenc, pianist & composer
Renee Fleming, soprano

Gabriela Lena Frank, composer

Evelyn Glennie, percussionist

Hélène Grimaud, pianist

Elizabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, composer
Jennifer Higdon, composer
Sharon Isbin, guitarist

Wang Jie, composer

Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano
Saint Kassiani, composer
Jeanne Lamon, conductor

Libby Larsen, composer

Marianna Martines, composer

Missy Mazzoli, composer
Fanny Mendelssohn, composer

Meredith Monk, composer

Eimear Noone, conductor and composer

Jessye Norman, soprano

Alondra de la Parra, conductor
Florence Price, composer
Clara Schumann, pianist & composer

Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen, violinist & composer

Undine Smith Moore, composer
Dame Ethel Smyth, composer
Barbara Strozzi, composer

Marcelle Germaine Taillefesse, composer

 

Open Music Library

19th century French pianist and composer Louise Farrenc studied with Anton Reicha and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Despite being a virtuoso performer and composer, she was paid less than her male colleagues, until 1849 when she demanded – and received equal pay. Listen to her Trio for flute, cello and piano Op. 45 (1856)

This post is part WXXI Classical 91.5’s celebration of Women’s History Month. For more of these stories and other resources, check out Celebrating the Contributions of Women to Classical Music.

Wikipedia

Barbara Strozzi was the most prolific composer of vocal music in 17th century Venice. She wrote mainly secular songs for soprano, but she did compose one volume of sacred music. She was said to be a courtesan, but this was likely jealous rumors from her male contemporaries.  Listen to Lagrime mie - Emanuela Galli.

This post is part WXXI Classical 91.5’s celebration of Women’s History Month. For more of these stories and other resources, check out Celebrating the Contributions of Women to Classical Music.

Famous People

17th century singer, lutenist and composer Francesca Caccini was the daughter of Renaissance composer Giulio Caccini. Very little of her music survives, but her opera, “The Liberation of Ruggiero” is probably the very first opera by a woman composer. Listen to "The Liberation of Ruggiero."

This post is part WXXI Classical 91.5’s celebration of Women’s History Month. For more of these stories and other resources, check out Celebrating the Contributions of Women to Classical Music.

Healthy Hildegard

From its beginning, classical music has seen significant contributions from women. In the 12th century Hildegard von Bingen was a composer and a mystic… and a Benedictine Abbess who founded two monasteries. Among her 70-plus compositions, her Ordo Virtutum, is the oldest surviving morality play. Listen to Ordo Virtutum. 

This post is part WXXI Classical 91.5’s celebration of Women’s History Month. For more of these stories and other resources, check out Celebrating the Contributions of Women to Classical Music.

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