Augusta Holmès

Augusta Holmès (1847-1903) was born in Paris to Irish ancestry. Though she was prevented from studying at the Paris Conservatory, she did take lessons privately and studied with César Franck. She first published her compositions under the pseudonym Hermann Zenta, but was able to earn recognition and acclaim for her works in her lifetime under her real name.

She composed in small and large forms, including operas and several symphonic poems – indeed, by the end of her life she was known primarily for her programmatic writing. Naxos carries recordings of her orchestral works. However, it is notable that Holmès wrote her own texts for her songs and oratorios. Some of her work is available in the public domain.

Here is an example of her chamber work – Fantasie for clarinet and piano: