110 women composers and their music

One of our readers, Roger Gunn, has produced a labour of love – a chart of 110 female composers, with each composer’s image linked to a video of her music.

Click here.

You may be in for a few surprises.


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  • Some of these videos are interesting for the history they document aside from women in music. One I really like is Laurie Spiegel in 1977 playing Bell Lab’s Alles Synth, one of the very first digital synthesizers. The first commercially available digital synth appeared 4 years later. By the end of the 80s, the musicians’ union membership in LA had been decimated as a result, the biggest loss of work for musicians since talkies replaced vaudville orchestras in the 1930s. For better or worse, today’s film sound tracks would be unthinkable without these developments. See her play the Alles here:


    • Where is Elisabeth Lutyens? I may be wrong and reprehensibly unobservant but cannot see her in the ‘chart’.

  • Good idea, always good to dig around amongst music that is undiscovered for whatever reason.
    I had just an hour of browsing to start with… but failed to find ( IMVHO ) anything truly exciting during this initial attempt except the already established names…but I will continue listening.
    There are some major composers listed, one of them being Unsuk Chin.
    After hearing her demanding and thrilling violinconcerto in Berlin years ago ( with a phenomenal Christian Tetzlaff ) I was sold. Her accessible opera ‘Alice in Wonderland’ also seems to me being one of the most imaginative works within contemporary opera repertoire for quite some years. ( The full version from the Munich Staatsoper can be found on you tube )
    If only her quirky piano Etudes wouldn’t be so hairraisingly difficult…I am starting to feel my age when practising these…
    Now I wonder:
    will Frau Chin find mercy before John Borstlap ? ( ‘The computer says No’ ).

    • I’m back from France and in a bad mood. So, I won’t be kind. And I guess he’ll find nothing good in Unsuk because I love it, especially Achrostic World Pay (or something of such title) which plays around with beautiful splinters of pure sound. All my clothes are still wet and I hate the Aubergine! no decent hotel to be found and garlic in everything! and I find all this talk about women in this thread tiresome and futile and it won’t change a thing I guess in our position.


      • Sally,I am awfully sorry about France. But no need to hate the Aubergine, it is a very good fruit vegetable in my view, I can send you some smashing recipes without garlic !
        Say Hallo to John, and is he really “setting a day aside delving into womanhood “?
        What a wonderful thing to do. I also tried really hard but only managed an hour so far.
        Can you tell me what he found ?

        • He’s locking himself up in the library hours a day with crazy sounds filling the corridors, and his wife is quite irritated that he won’t see her and only put a little note under the door saying ‘I’m now with other women’, so, selective feminism of a kind seems to have taken-over here. And I was in the Aubergine, an area in the Perigord, not a vegetable, names get confused there like Limousine the car and the area. You have to take great care with what you say in those lands. I hate France. Except PB of course! But let’s not open that can of worms.


          • We have locked him up in the library because of his plans to write a very very long report of all of that music with so much criticism in it, that Mrs B and I, and some other female staff, decided to protect SD readers from so much material which does not seem to have any relationship with our liberation movement.


  • I miss Guy d’Hardelot (Because), Eva dell’Acqua (J’ai vu passer l’hirondelle) and Marguerite Monnot (too many songs nowadays recorded by classical singers)

  • Ilona Sekacz. Angela Morley .

    I imagine Alma Deutscher and her camp followers would be peeved with the omission

    • As would the likes of Elena Kats-Chernin.
      At least Teresa Carreno, Nadia Boulanger, Peggy Glanville-Hicks and the many others that come to mind can’t protest…

  • Three more worthy additions (or should I say, auditions?):

    Tera de Marez-Oyens – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onfq_JQZnd4 (“Charen’s Gift” for piano and tape [1982])
    Esther Flückiger – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHDY1gXgqgw (“Cosmo – I quattro elementi nell’universo di Leonardo da Vinci in 3′”)
    Sandra Goldberg – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtNexMjiyXM&t=22s (“Sh’ma”, excerpt from the musical drama “Judah, Judah” [2009])

  • There are not Grazyna Bacewicz, Isabel Mundry, Gloria Coates, Teresa Procaccini, Barbara Giuranna, Francesca Caccini, Isabella Leonarda, Ljubica Maric, Anna Bon, Sylvie Bodorova, Emilia Gubitosi…

  • Thanks, Mr Roger Cunn, for your iniciative! And Mr Lebrecht, for posting it!

    May I also suggest Spanish composer Soledad de Bengoechea (1849-1894), whose work I am researching and conducting?

    Thanks again!

    Patricia Kleinman
    Proyecto Compositoras

  • Thank you! I have bookmarked this page – always happy to find out about composers who are unfamiliar to me.

  • Please look up Marga Richter. Accomplished composer with many credits to her name. Still alive at 91 and composing!

  • Hildegard von Bingen is the cream of the crop here.. downhill all the way afterwards. I think her music is nothing short of stunning.

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