Remembering Clara Kathleen Rogers

Today (March 8th, 2011) marks the 80th anniversary of the death of Clara Kathleen Rogers (1844-1931). It is only fitting, then, to remember her death by celebrating her life.

Born in England to a musical family, Rogers and her family soon moved to Leipzig where she was prevented from taking courses at the conservatory (as they did not allow women), but was able to begin her formal music education with private lessons. After graduating from her studies, Rogers chose to pursue a career as an opera singer using the name Clara Doria. She first came to the United States as part of an opera company, but stayed after she married Henry Munroe Rogers. She was fortunate again to reside in Boston, which was home to not only an incredibly active and well respected music community, but also one that supported (if begrudgingly) the efforts of women as composers and performers. Roger’s friends included Amy Beach and Margaret Ruthven Lang, as well as George Chadwick and Henry Wadsworth Longellow.

She didn’t begin to composer until later in life, but wrote and published many songs through the A.P. Schmidt Company (the papers of which, including autograph scores, can be found at the Library of Congress). Rogers also accepted a faculty position at the New England Conservatory in 1902.

Beyond her compositions (which are for voice or chamber ensembles), Rogers wrote numerous books on voice pedagogy as well as her memoirs from her days as a touring musician. Since her books are out of copyright, they have been digitized and are available online!

Her papers are held at Harvard.