The work of Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy is to recognize and honor the work of historic and contemporary women composers, encourage performances of their works. That the work of women composers has been left out of the canon because it simply isn’t “good” is a laughable assertion. It was ridiculous when it was suggested in the 19th century, and is perhaps even more ridiculous when made this week. But instead of dissecting their argument, which was already beautifully done over at Song of the Lark, or feeding into the trolls, let’s focus on some important dates celebrated this past week.
Sunday (September 13) was Clara Schumann’s 196th birthday. She was a child piano virtuoso as well as being a composer, though she is usually only remembered as being the wife of a composer.
Wednesday (September 16) was Nadia Boulanger’s 128th birthday. Though she was an accomplished composer, including competing in the Prix de Rome, her greatest achievements in music were as an educator. Her pupils included some of the “greats” whose works are regularly programmed throughout the world – but Boulanger’s works have fallen into obscurity.
Thursday (September 17) was Hildegard of Bingen’s Feast Day. It’s hard to think of another woman whose life could compare to that of St. Hildegard. A writer, composers, botanist, theologian – her works continue to be popular among scholars and enthusiasts.
Today (Friday, September 18) is the 428th birthday of Francesca Caccini. A singer, lutenist, poet, and composer from the early Baroque era, Caccini wrote primarily for the stage, though little of her work survives today.
So let’s all take a few minutes to learn more about these notable women celebrating anniversary this week and enjoy listening to their works. There is no need to “prove” the value of women’s work in music. The evidence speaks for itself.