Composers

Isabelle Aboulker

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – From “Women in Fables”, based on fables by Jean de la Fontaine: The young widow; The cat transformed into a woman… ; The cicada and the ant

Parallel to composition and piano studies at the Paris Conservatoire, Isabelle Aboulker (*1938) composed for theater, cinema and television productions. As assistant pianist and voice professor, her compositional work focuses on voice and opera from 1981 onwards. Her attention to prosody shows her roots in the French song tradition.

 

Fabienne Ambuehl – Festival frauenkomponiert 2018

Swiss pianist, singer and composer Fabienne Ambuehl released her debut album Glitterwoods with the Fabienne Ambuehl Trio on Traumton records in 2015. She performs regularly as the pianist in the Noga Ritter band and has worked and toured in Senegal for a musical residency, supported by Arts Council England. As the pianist in Neele & the Soundvoyage she released a EP and the album Visions (QFTF Berlin 2018) and toured Switzerland and Germany. As a singer and soloist of the Jazz Choir Freiburg she toured Germany and Austria. In July 2017 she was their soloist at the Eurovision Song Contest for choirs in Riga, Latvia. With X-elle she recorded two CDs and has played numerous concerts in Switzerland. In 2013 she was selected for Suisse Diagonales Jazz with Harmonie Greber.
Fabienne completed her masters at Lucerne School of Music in 2014, with degrees in performance and pedagogy. She studied piano with Hans Feigenwinter and Chris Wiesendanger alongside vocal studies  with Bruno Amstad and Lauren Newton. She has further taken lessons with Jean Paul Brodbeck,  Christoph Stiefel, Lester Menezes, Asaf Sirkis, Gwilym Simcock and Aaron Goldberg.

 

May Aufderheide

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Richmond Rag (1909); Novelty Rag (1911); A Totally Different Rag (1910); Dusty Rag (1908)

Raised in Indianapolis (Indiana), May Aufderheide (1890–1972) is recognised today as one of the best-known and most significant female ragtime composers. In 1908 her first composition, Dusty, was published, and a year later her most successful work, The Thriller. Her father founded his own music publishers in order to publish the works of his daughter and other women ragtime composers.

 

Heidi (Baader-)Nobs (*1940)

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Evasion (2017)

Heidi (Baader-)Nobs (*1940) trained as a teacher at the Ecole Normale in Delémont and was given at the same time her first piano and violin lessons. Subsequently she studied violin with Rodolfo Felicani at the Basel Musik-Akademie. Due to a chronic inflammation of the right arm, she had to give up her violin studies, thereafter concentrating on composition and music theory with Robert Suter and Jacques Wildberger.

After her marriage to Claudius Baader and the birth of their three children Manon (1971), Manuel (1973) and Sébastien (1978), Heidi Baader-Nobs gradually reduced her compositional work to devote herself to her family. “The children are my best works.”

Following on from this long interruption she returned to composing in 1980 at the repeated request of her friends. She distanced herself from the serial system and developed a very personal musical language. Her works are determined above all by graphic forms: they are acoustic realisations of graphic ideas.
www.baadernobs.ch.

 

Anita Denise Baker – Festival frauenkomponiert 2018

Anita Denise Baker (*1958) is an American singer-songwriter. Starting her career in the late 1970’s with the funk band Chapter 8, she released her first solo album, The Songstress, in 1983. In 1986, she rose to stardom following the release of her platinum-selling second album, Rapture, which included the Grammy-winning single “Sweet Love”. She is regarded as one of the most popular singers of soulful romantic ballads during the height of the quiet storm period of contemporary R&B in the 1980’s. Baker has won mutiple Grammy Awards and has several platinum and one gold album.

 

Amy Beach (*1867)

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018:

Symphony in E minor for large orchestra, op. 32 «Gaelic» (1896);

Fantasia fugata, op.87
Serenade (transcription of R. Strauss ’serenade)
Barcarolle, op.28, no.1

From Grandmother’s Garden, op. 97
No. 3 Mignonette
No. 5 Honeysuckle

Les Rêves de Colombine, op. 65, no. 1: La Fée de la fontaine
Scottish Legend, op.54, no.1
A Cradle Song of the Lonely Mother, op.108

Three Pianoforte Pieces, op. 128
No. 1 Scherzino: A Peterborough Chipmunk
No. 2 Young Birches
No. 3 A Humming-bird

A Hermit Thrush at Eve, op. 92. 1

Improvisations, op. 148
No. 1 lento, molto tranquillo
No. 2 Allegretto grazioso e capriccioso

Bal masque, op.22

The pianist and composer, Mrs. H.H.A. Beach née Cheney (1867–1944), was the first American woman composer of large-scale orchestral works. In her time she was famous in the US and Europe.

At the age of one, Amy Cheney could already sing 40 melodies. A year later she began to improvise a second voice and taught herself to read at the age of three. As a four-year-old, she once played a piano piece by heart, but a semitone higher, because the piano was out of tune and she wanted to keep the original pitch.

Despite such abilities, her parents did not allow her to become a professional musician. Upon her marriage aged 18 to Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, who was 25 years her senior, she accepted (with some resistance) to perform in public as a pianist henceforth only once a year. Perhaps rather curiously, her husband decided on the career of his wife as a composer – something that can, of course, be done at home – and allowed her to publish some works under her new (i.e. his) name. As her husband did not, however, allow her to take lessons in composition, Beach studied autodidactically: she used Hector Berlioz’s book on instrumentation and orchestration, for example, to learn to negotiate the instruments of the orchestra.

She became known in musical circles and amongst campaigners for women’s rights as the musical representative of the US at the World Exhibition of 1893 in Chicago. Following the death of her husband in 1910, Beach embarked upon a three-year tour of Europe, during which she gave concerts of her own works. In 1914 she returned to the US and spent some time in the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, before moving to New York in the 1920’s. She worked there until 1940 at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Park Avenue in Manhattan.

 

Antonia Padoani Bembo

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – “Mormorate o fiumicelli”; Aria from the opera “L’Ercole amante” for soprano, 2 violins and b.c.

Antonia Padoani Bembo (1640–1720) was rooted in two different cities and music cultures: in Venice as an established singer and student of Francesco Cavalli: in Paris as a composer and singer who was valued and supported with a life-long subsidy by Louis XIV. This explains her equal familiarity with Italian and French musical tastes.

 

Mel Bonis

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Preghiera; Toccata

It seems incomprehensible today that the works of Mel Bonis (1858–1937) were gradually forgotten, for they represent some of the most important chamber music compositions of the French post-Romantic period. Supported by César Franck, Bonis was accepted by the Paris Conservatoire in 1877 and studied there successfully, as several prizes testify, until 1881. In 1883 she married the industrialist Albert Domange. They had four offspring and only when the children had grown up did Bonis’s music regain precedence. Her most important works were composed between 1900 and 1914.

 

Caroline Charrière

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Tu me diras (Marguerite Burnat – Provins); Ton coeur bat (Marguerite Burnat – Provins); Ta voix (Marguerite Burnat – Provins); Tu m’as dit

Swiss composer and conductor Caroline Charrière (1960–2018) was born in Freiburg in Üechtland and studied flute, composition, and later conducting at the Lausanne Conservatory. In 2000 she decided to devote herself primarily to composition.

 

Jeanne Demessieux

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – From Twelve Choral Preludes on Gregorian ChantThemes; Hosanna filio David. Choral Fugue;
Attende Domine. Choral Paraphrase; Vexilla regis. Prélude; Ubi caritas. Ricercare; In manus tuas. Litany

Jeanne Marie-Madeleine  Demessieux (1921–68) was a French organist, pianist, composer, and pedagogue. In 1962, she was appointed titular organist at La Madeleine in Paris. She combined this with demanding academic duties, serving as professor of organ both at the Nancy Conservatoire (1950–52) and later at the Conservatoire Royal in Liège (1952–68). In 1967, she signed a contract with Decca for a recording of the complete organ works by Olivier Messiaen, which she did not live to finish. Jeanne Demessieux died on November 11, 1968 in Paris of cancer, at the age of 47.
Demessieux wrote more than 30 compositions. Many of these were written for the organ, but she also produced pieces for piano, fairly numerous songs, a handful of choral works (including an oratorio, “Chanson de Roland”), and orchestral works.

 

Alma Deutscher (*2005)

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Violin Concerto No. 1 (2014/2015)

The British composer, pianist and violinist Alma Deutscher (*2005) started playing the piano when she was two years old and the violin when she was three. Soon afterwards she started improvising simple melodies on the piano. Her attempts at composition started aged four, when she began writing an opera about a pirate called Don Alonzo. She started studying partimento (an instructional bass line with either figured or unfigured bass) and improvisation with Tobias Cramm (Basel) in 2010.

When she was six, Alma composed her first full piano sonata, and at seven she wrote a very short opera called The Sweeper of Dreams. Aged nine, Alma composed a concerto for violin and orchestra, which she premiered in 2015. Her first piece for symphony orchestra, Dance of the Solent Mermaids, was also premiered in 2015.

Aged ten, Alma finished a full-length opera, Cinderella. A chamber version of the opera was performed in Israel in 2015 and the full version was premiered in Vienna under the patronage of Zubin Mehta in December 2016, to standing ovations, sold out performances, and international critical acclaim. In July 2017, Alma premiered her first piano concerto.

Alma’s talent as a musician has been acknowledged by figures such as Sir Simon Rattle and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Since 2015 she has been mentored by Martin Campbell-White, the man who discovered and promoted Sir Simon. Alma has featured prominently in the international press and broadcast media. Her YouTube channel has more than 4.5 million views.

www.almadeutscher.com.

 

Susanne Doll – Festival frauenkomponiert 2018

Susanne Doll (*1956) has been Organist at St. Leonhard’s church and the Church of St. Paul and artistic director of the “Orgelspiel zum Feierabend” in Basel since 1991. She focuses on compositions for organ and choir; arrangements for organ from Bach via Debussy to Pink Floyd, Santana, Piazzolla, Gershwin, Dvorak, Grieg and Brubeck; working with amateurs; the organ works of Bach, Dupré and Messiaen.

 

Louise Farrenc

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Sonata for violin and piano no.1 in c minor, op.37; Largo – Allegro; Poco Adagio; Allegro vivace
frauenkomponiert 2015 – Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op. 36 (1847)

Born in Paris, Jeanne Louise Dumont, later known as Louise Farrenc (1804–75), was a composer, pianist and musicologist. She was lucky enough to be married to an understanding and supportive music publisher, Aristide Farrenc. He wrote about the work of his wife:
“No musician can fail to remember the Sinfonie, which Mme Farrenc performed in the conservatory, a strong and courageous work, in which the brilliance of the melody competes with the rich variety of the harmony.”
Schumann expressed approval of Farrenc’s work and wrote a positive critique of it in his music periodical. She started teaching at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 38. Her output is voluminous, with symphonies, overtures, vocal and choral works, pieces for solo piano, and chamber music.

 

Esther Flückiger

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Guarda i lumi (Five migrating sound images) World premiere (dedicated to Jiří Němeček and Ludovic van Hellemont); Desert in Mood; Ligetissimo

Pianist, improviser and composer – also in multimedia contexts – Esther Flückiger (*1959) uses a rich palette for artistic creation, which shows her familiarity with both classical repertoire and jazz idioms. She has performed in Europe, the US, Russia, Asia, and South America and taken part in numerous CD, TV and radio recordings.

 

Irene Giblin

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Sleepy Lou (1906)

Irene Giblin (1888–1974) also known as Irene Giblin O’Brien, was an American pianist and composer of ragtime. She published a total of ten pieces between 1905 and 1911. Her song “Chicken Chowder” of 1905 was her biggest success.

 

Sofia Gubaidulina
frauenkomponiert 2015 – Impromptu for flute (flute and alto flute), violin, and strings (1996)

Born in the city of Chistopol’ye in the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Tatar, Sofiya Asgatovna Gubaidulina (*1931) grew up in Kazan’. Her father was an engineer, her mother a teacher, and her grandfather a mullah. After studying piano and composition at the Kazan’ State Conservatory (1949–54), she continued her composition studies in Moscow with Nicolai Peyko and Vissarion Shebalin, graduating in 1963. During her apprenticeship she was awarded a Stalin-fellowship. In the so-called era of stagnation, however, her compositions were officially banned.
If Gubaidulina’s Russian heritage is of great importance to her works, the Asiatic influence of her Tartar descent is also clearly audible. Above all, though, it is the great spirituality of her works – she understands composing as a religious act – which defines her work. It is this, as well as her preoccupation with numerical relationships, that explains her significant affinity with Johann Sebastian Bach. Gubaidulina often works with opposites, such as “light and darkness”, and her goal is the reconciliation of contradictory voices.
In 1981, Gidon Kremer made an essential contribution to Gubaidulina’s fame in the West with his premiere of her Violin Concerto Offertorium. She dedicated her second violin concerto to the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. In 1992, the composer moved to Germany near Hamburg. She is a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, the Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg, the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1999 she was awarded the German Order Pour le mérite. She is Honorary Professor at the conservatoires of Kazan, Beijing, and Tianjin and Honorary President of frauenkomponiert since its founding in 2014/15.

 

Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de la Guerre

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Sonata in D minor for violin and B.c; Grave, Presto, Adagio-Presto-Adagio, Aria, Presto; Sonata Trio in D Major for 2 Violins and B.c.; Grave, Vivace e Presto – Adagio, Allegro, Adagio, Allegro, Aria: Affettuoso, Allegro

Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1665–1729) was the daughter of a harpsichord-maker and as a child she was much prized as a harpsichord virtuoso. At the age of 15 she was taken into the employment of Louis XIV, who supported her and ensured that her compositions were performed.

 

Fanny Hensel

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Prelude in G major; Prelude in F major for organ

Allegro molto C minor
The year – 12 character pieces for Fortepiano

January 1stA dream. Adagio quasi una Fantasia
Ahnest du, o Seele, wieder
Sanfte, süsse Frühlingslieder,
Sieh umher die falben Bäume,
Ach!, es waren holde Träume.

February 2nd – Scherzo. Presto
Denkt nicht, ihr seid in deutschen Gränzen,
Von Teufels-, Narren- und Totentänzen
Ein heiter Fest erwartet euch.

March 3 – Prelude and chorale “Christ is risen”
Verkündiget, ihr dumpfen Glocken, schon
Des Osterfestes erste Feierstunde?

April 4 – Capriccioso
Der Sonnenblick betrüget
Mit mildem, falschem Schein.

5. May – Spring Song
Nun blühet das fernste, tiefste Tal.

6. June – Serenade. Allegro
Hör ich Rauschen, hör ich Lieder,
Hör ich holde Liebesklage.

7. July – Larghetto
Die Fluren dürsten nach erquickendem Tau,
der Mensch verschmachtet.

8. August – Allegro
Bunt von Farben
Auf den Garben
liegt der Kranz.

9. September – At the river. Andante con moto
Fliesse, fliesse, lieber Fluss,
Nimmer werd ich froh.

10. October – Allegro con spirito
Im Wald, im grünen Walde,
Da ist ein lustiger Schall.

11. November – Mesto
Wie rauschen die Bäume so winterlich schon,
Es fliehen die Träume des Lebens davon,
Ein Klagelied schallt
Durch Hügel und Wald.

12. December – Allegro molto. Chorale
Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her

13. Epilogue – Chorale
Das alte Jahr vergangen ist

Il Saltarello Romano


frauenkomponiert 2015 – Hero and Leander: Dramatic scene for soprano with orchestral accompaniment

Fanny Hensel (1805–47), the older sister of Felix Mendelssohn, was born into a Jewish family, but then baptised a Protestant in 1816 (Jews had practically no rights in Prussia at the time). At the tender age of 13, she was already playing substantial parts of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier from memory. As Felix’s elder sister she actively supported him in his work and apparently made suggestions for corrections to his compositions. Her brother even published some of her works under his own name. According to the conventions of the time for a woman of her standing, Fanny’s musical activities from the age of about 15 were restricted to chamber music for the private sphere –composition could be no more than an “ornamental” occupation for her. Fanny did not let this deter her. She composed throughout her life a total of around 450 pieces: inner necessity inspired her to compose rather than the aim of reaching a wider public. In the “Gartensaal” of the family home in Berlin, she organised Sunday matinees that were accessible to the social elite and she became an important figure in the cultural life of the city. From 1831, she composed a series of larger works in quick succession, including the Overtüre for orchestra and the “dramatic concert scene for soprano and orchestra” Hero and Leander. At a private performance of the overture in 1834, she borrowed on the spur of the moment one of Felix’s batons (in his absence) and conducted the work herself, thereby writing another piece of history. Towards the end of her life, she began to publish her works. She was constantly supported by her husband, the painter Wilhelm Hensel, who also wrote texts for her music. In other circumstances, Fanny Hensel would not simply have been “the other Mendelssohn”.

 

Vítězslava Kaprálová
frauenkomponiert 2016 – Sbohem a šáteček
(Waving Farewell) for voice and orchestra (1938)

Vítězslava Kaprálová (1915–40) made her first attempts at composition at the age of nine. At 15, she commenced studies in conducting and composition at the Conservatory of Brno – against the will of her father, although he was himself a composer. She furthered her studies in Prague and Paris. She was Bohuslav Martinů’s student and lover.
In 1937, Kaprálová conducted her own Military Symphony with the Czech Philharmoic and a year later with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Despite her early death, she left a remarkable body of composition (25 works with opus numbers). After the 1950s, her work was largely forgotten, then being re-discovered in the 21st century.

 

Sadie Koninsky

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Eli Green’s Cakewalk (1896)

Sadie Koninsky (1879–1952) left an impressive legacy of compositions, and not just in ragtime. She spent the bulk of her life in Troy, New York. Sadie’s first known published composition was issued by the house of M. Witmark in 1894. The Belles of Andalusia was a pleasant Spanish-tinged waltz. This was followed in 1895 by a typical march of the era, The Minstrel King, published in Albany. However, she first came to prominence at the age of 19 or 20. While training to become a classical violinist, a skill for which she turned out to be very capable, Miss Koninsky then wrote Eli Green’s Cake Walk. It was quickly picked up by Joseph W. Stern for publication, and Stern had lyrics added by staff writer Dave Reed to further benefit from the demand for cakewalk songs.
At a time shortly after cakewalk dance music had been introduced into publication, Sadie, a Jewish white woman, was able to capture successfully the feeling of the typical black-composed cakewalk. Furthermore, it was published under her real name, a feat not often duplicated for this genre until a few years later when women such as Charlotte Blake and May Aufderheide started putting out ragtime works.

 

Nathalie Laesser Zweifel

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Brazileira; Long ago (Swiss premiere)

Nathalie Laesser Zweifel (*1976) grew up in Aarau and studied piano at the Conservatoire in Lausanne with Christian Favre and in the concert class of Hiroo Sakagami at the Hochschule of Lucerne. She furthered her studies as an accompanist with Edward Rushton and studied jazz piano and composition with Thierry Lang at the jazz school of Montreux. She received important musical stimuli for Bossa Nova and Samba from pianist Leandra Braga in Rio de Janiero.

 

Junghae Lee
frauenkomponiert 2016 – poema ritmico for piano solo and string orchestra (2014) 

Junghae Lee (*1964) is a Korean citizen, but was born in Tokyo. She studied composition with ByungDong Paik at Seoul National University and later took part in masterclasses with Isang Yun and Toru Takemitsu. In 1991 she moved to Basel, where she studied electronic music and harpsichord at the Musik-Akademie Basel.
A series of tape pieces reflected her search for strong and clear means of expression and led to their own idiom. After a phase of intensive activity in electro-acoustic music, she returned to instrumental composition. Special sounds and high expressivity characterise her work, both with and without electronic elements.
Her pieces have been performed in many concerts and festivals for contemporary music, such as ISCM World Music Days, International Computer Music Conference, Gaudeamus Music Week, Synthese in Bourges (F), Asian Composers League, Pan Music Festival (Seoul).

 

Alma Mahler

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – 5 songs: The silent city (Dehmel); In my father’s garden (Hartleben); Warm summer night (falcon); It’s cosy with you (Rilke); I walk among flowers (Heine)

During the time she was active artistically, Alma Mahler née Schindler (1879–1964) composed more than a hundred songs, various instrumental pieces, and the beginnings of an opera. Of her complete output, only 17 songs have survived. When he proposed to Alma, Gustav Mahler made it clear that his wife must give up her music. Alma Mahler was a significant personality of the artistic, musical and literary scene in the first half of the twentieth century. After Mahler’s death, she married the architect Walter Gropius, then the poet Franz Werfel and was the lover of the painter Oskar Kokoschka.

 

Emilie Mayer
frauenkomponiert 2016 – Symphony No. 5 in F Minor

Emilie Mayer (1812–83) had piano lessons from an early age and after her schooling went on to study composition with Carl Loewe in Stettin. In 1847 she moved to Berlin for intensive studies of double counterpoint and fugue with Adolf Bernhard Marx. From 1850 she regularly organised concerts for an invited audience, presenting her own works and those of others.
In her time, Emilie Mayer was a very well known composer and was baptised the “female Beethoven” by enthusiastic critics. She devoted herself exclusively to composition and wrote amongst other works 4 overtures, 6 symphonies, a piano concerto, chamber music, and numerous songs. After her death, her extensive and diverse works were gradually forgotten. Amongst the orchestral works, only the 5th and 6th symphonies have been published; the remaining manuscripts are in Berlin.

 

Meredith Monk

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Ellis Island

Meredith Monk (*1942) is a composer, singer, director/choreographer, and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. Recognised as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance.” Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound, discovering and weaving together new modes of perception. Her ground-breaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words.
www.meredithmonk.org

 

Julia Lee Niebergall

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Hoosier Rag (1907)

Julia Lee Niebergall (1886–1968) was one of the ragtime composers who really succeeded in making music her whole life – as a pianist, accompanist, arranger, and composer. Like her friend, May Aufderheide, she grew up in Indianapolis in a musical family. Niebergall was a very independent woman. After graduating from school she married, but a short while later divorced and took her maiden name again. Her independence, which was remarkable for that time, was reflected in the fact that she was one of the first women in Indianapolis to own a car and drive it. In 1907 her first ragtime composition was published with success. At this time Julia Lee Niebergall also worked as an arranger for the music publisher John Aufderheide in Indianapolis. From about 1910 until the 1920s she concentrated as a pianist on her activity as an accompanist for the silent movies – until films with sound tracks took over. Occasionally she also played for ballet and sports classes; in later years she taught piano and music theory.

 

Clara Schumann

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Prelude and Fugue in D minor, Op. 16/3; Prelude and Fugue in B flat major, Op. 16/2; Three Romances for violin and piano, op.22; Andante molto; Allegretto. With tender recitation; Passionately fast; Love spell (Geibel) op 13 No.3; The moon comes silent gone (Geibel) op 13 No.4; I have in your eye (Rückert) op 13 Nr.5; The silent lotus flower (Geibel) op13 No.6; Six songs op 13; I stood in dark dreams (Heine) op 13 Nr.1; They loved each other (Heine) op 13 No.2

Clara Schumann (1819–96) was trained systematically as a piano virtuoso by her father, Friedrich Wilhelm Wieck, from the age of four. Already whilst very young, Clara Wieck’s improvisations and own compositions were received enthusiastically. Although she considered herself primarily a pianist, composition meant a great deal to her.

 

Adaline Shepherd

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Live Wires Rag (1910)

Adaline Shepherd (1885–1950) was born in the American state of Iowa, where she probably received music lessons as part of her school education. She was probably an autodidact as a pianist. In 1907, she lived in Milwaukee and it is likely that she wrote her most famous work “Pickles and Peppers”, there. The publisher Joseph Flanner was enthusiastic about this piece, arranged it properly (since Adaline Shepherd did not have the necessary knowledge of music), and published the work. (Interestingly enough, this practice was also common for many of her male colleagues’ ragtime pieces: many musicians in the entertainment districts of the big cities played the piano brilliantly, but had never had music lessons that would have enabled them to notate their compositions). “Pickles and Peppers” became probably the biggest hit of any ragtime composer and soon reached a circulation of 2 million copies sold, but unfortunately only two more ragtimes followed this grandiose debut piece. Adeline Shepherd married Frederick S. Olson in 1910. As a wife and mother of three children she gave up her musical ambitions. In 1917, during the First World War, a last piano piece was published under the name Mrs. F. S. Olson. Adaline Olson died in Milwaukee in 1950.

 

Ethel Smyth

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – O beautiful world building (1913); Prelude on an Irish air (1936); O Sadness, o Heartbreak (1913)
frauenkomponiert 2015 – Serenade in D (1889)
frauenkomponiert 2016 –
Concerto for Violin, Horn, and Orchestra (1889)

Perceived as mildly shocking, perhaps even slightly impudent, by certain members of the upper classes at the turn of the century, Ethel Smyth (1858 –1944) reveals in her writings an ability to hit the nail on the head with wonderful humour and great humanity which remains today as striking as it is entertaining. The composer wrote ten books, loved games and sports (golf, tennis, mountain climbing…) and was a pioneering cyclist at a time when few women were allowed or dared to try. She cultivated passionate friendships with figures such as Mrs Benson, wife of the Archbishop of Cantebury, Lady Ponsonby (wife of Queen Victoria’s private secretary), Emmeline Pankhurst and Virginia Woolf, and travelled far and wide throughout Europe. She worked as a radiographer in France during the First World War and from 1911 to 1913 with the Women Suffragettes in England (winding up in prison (with them) in the aftermath of some carefully staged brick-throwing). And she wrote music… not simply as a hobby, but as a trained and tremendously talented composer: six operas, a concerto for horn and violin, a mass, chamber music including many string quartets, choral works, and much more.

 

Barbara Strozzi

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – “Presso un ruscello algente” cantata for soprano and b.c.Serenata “Hor che Apollo” for soprano, 2 violins and b.c.

As her works demonstrate, Barbara Strozzi (1619–64) was one of the greatest female composers of her time and both her early madrigals and later cantatas are extraordinarily expressive and beautiful. She lived as a courtesan in Venice and was the mother of various children by different men.

 

Germaine Tailleferre

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Jeu de plein air: 1. La Tirelitentaine; 2. Cache-cache mitoula

Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983) was born near Paris as Germaine Taillefesse. She changed her name as a young woman in defiance of her father, who refused to support her musical education. Received her first piano lessons from her mother, she entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1904, won several prizes, and was (the only female) co-founder and member of the “Groupe des Six” (with Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc). Les Six had a great impact on French musical life. Tailleferre composed operas, concerts, piano and chamber music, as well as music for film and television.

 

Helena Tulve – Festival frauenkomponiert 2018

Born in 1972 in Estonia, Helena Tulve studied composition at the State Conservatory in Tallinn and at the Conservatoire de Paris. She writes a flowing, freely developing music that arises from the simplest impulses and sounds experimental in a natural way. In addition to composition, she has also dealt intensively with Gregorian chant and various oral tradition traditions. www.helenatulve.ee

 

Agnes Tyrrell (1846-1883)

Festival frauenkomponiert 2018 – Overture from the oratorio “The Kings of Israel”, c minor (c.1880)

Agnes Tyrrell (1846–1883) should be considered as a major European composer. She was the daughter of English teacher Henry Tyrrell, but spent her entire life in Brno (today in the Czech Republic). She studied composition with Otto Ritzler and was one of the few women to write a symphony before 1900 – her Symphony in C major. In addition, Agnes Tyrrell wrote 39 piano works, 38 songs or song cycles, 15 choruses, a string quartet, 2 overtures and a “mazurka” for orchestra, the oratorio “Die Könige in Israel” and an opera “Bertran de Born”. Only a few of her works for piano have been published. Practically all of her larger works are still waiting to be premiered.

The frauenkomponiert world premiere of Tyrrell’s Overture to the Oratorio “Die Könige in Israel“ in March 2018, using the new edition produced for frauenkomponiert by Rico Zela and Jessica Horsley, represents a milestone in the reappraisal and recognition of her creative output.