With the flurry of activity surrounding Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, I’ve come across some excellent and affirming acknowledgements of women’s work in music in some unexpected places. There are many inspired and wonderfully intentioned people working to spread the word about women’s work in music across what are largely social media platforms. For example:
There is a list of “24 of the Most Overlooked Composers” on Buzzfeed.
The excellently titled Compos(h)er updates daily and shares works by a fantastic range of historic women composers.
There is more music and biographical sketches at Know Your Female Composers, and even Daily Classical Music has been known to feature the work of historic women from time to time – as well as many, many great individual posts by users who felt compelled to spread the word about women in music. Doing a search for “woman + composer” on Tumblr will give you hundreds of results. (And you can repeat with “female + composer“.)
The enthusiasm is fantastic – and infectious! But I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that a large majority of the time, the same few women are discussed. This isn’t surprising since what relatively little academic work has been done on the lives and music of women composers centers on several key individuals. I hope that all of this collective enthusiasm can help change that.
So, tell us – who is your favorite, particularly neglected composer? Who needs more time in the spotlight along with Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger, and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel?