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Vítězslava Kaprálová

(1915-1940)
kapralova

Vítězslava Kaprálová

Vítězslava Kaprálová (January 24, 1915 – June 16, 1940) was a Czech composer and conductor.
Kaprálová's creative output includes her highly regarded art songs and music for piano solo, a string quartet, a reed trio, music for cello, music for violin and piano, an orchestral cantata, two piano concertos, two orchestral suites, a sinfonietta, and a concertino for clarinet, violin, and orchestra.

Read more at the Kapralova Society.

Agathe Backer-Grøndahl

(1847-1907)
backer gröndahl

Agathe Backer-Grøndahl

Agathe Ursula Backer-Grøndahl (1 December 1847 – 4 June 1907) was a Norwegian pianist and composer. She married the conductor and singing teacher Olaus Andreas Grøndahl in 1875, and was generally known thereafter as Agathe Backer-Grøndahl.
Agathe Backer Grondahl played a major role in the period often called the golden age of Norwegian music history. She composed in total some 400 pieces spanning seventy opus numbers, and was a prominent character on the Norwegian musical scene.

Anna Bon di Venezia

(1739-?)
Anna Bon de Venezia

Anna Bon di Venezia

Anna Bon (ca.1739-?) was an Italian composer and performer. Her parents were both involved in music and traveled internationally. Anna was born in Russia. On March 8, 1743, at the age of four, she was admitted to the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice as a student; that she had a surname indicates that she was not a foundling as were most of the Pièta wards, but a tuition-paying pupil (figlia de spesi).
By 1756, Anna rejoined her parents in Bayreuth where they were in the service of Margrave Friedrich of Brandenburg Kulmbach; she held the new post of 'chamber music virtuosa' at the court, and dedicated her six op. 1 flute sonatas, published in Nürnberg in 1756, to Friedrich. From the frontispiece we learn that she composed them at the age of sixteen.

Élisabeth de la Guerre

(1665-1729)
Elisabeth de la Guerre

Élisabeth de la Guerre

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (full name Élisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre; born Élisabeth Jacquet, 17 March 1665, Paris – 27 June 1729, Paris) was a French musician, harpsichordist and composer.
Her first published work was her Premier livre de pièces de clavessin which includes unmeasured preludes and was printed in 1687. It was one of the few collections of harpsichord pieces printed in France in the 17th Century, along with those of Chambonnières, Lebègue and d'Anglebert. During the 1690s she composed a ballet, Les Jeux à l'honneur de la victoire (c. 1691), which has subsequently been lost. On 15 March 1694, the production of her opera Céphale et Procris at the Académie Royale de Musique was the first of an opera written by a woman in France. The five-act tragédie lyrique was set to a libretto by Duché de Vancy. Like her contemporaries, she also experimented with Italian genres: principally the sonata and the cantata. In 1695 she composed a set of trio sonatas which, with those of Marc-Antoine Charpentier, François Couperin, Jean-Féry Rebel and Sébastien de Brossard, are among the earliest French examples of the sonata.

Antonia Bembo

(ca. 1640 – ca. 1720)
Antonia Bembo

Antonia Bembo

Antonia Bembo (ca. 1640 – ca. 1720) was an Italian composer and singer. She was born in Venice and died in Paris. She was the daughter of Giacomo Padoani, a doctor; she married Lorenzo Bembo in 1659.
Six volumes of Bembo's music survive in manuscript at the Bibliothèque nationale de France as the Produzioni armoniche, most of them dedicated to Louis XIV. These contain a certain amount of autobiographical information, which has been corroborated through other sources. She was taught by Francesco Cavalli (who also taught Barbara Strozzi) by 1654 and wrote in all the major genres of the time, including opera, secular and sacred cantatas, and petit and grand motets.

Maria Teresa Agnesi Pinottini

(1720-1795)
Maria Teresa Agnesi Pinottini

Maria Teresa Agnesi Pinottini

Maria Teresa Agnesi (October 17, 1720 – January 19, 1795) was an Italian composer. Though she was most famous for her compositions, she was also an accomplished harpsichordist and singer, and the majority of her surviving compositions were written for keyboard, the voice, or both.
Not much is known about Maria Teresa. Nothing is known of her education or teachers, and the dates of her compositions are largely unknown. Many of her compositions have been lost, although there are records of their existence. Her career was made possible by the Austrian Lombardy, which proved progressive and enlightened in women's rights. The movement was more prevalent in Vienna and Dresden rather than her hometown of Milan, and Maria Teresa found more success and more appreciative audiences in these cities than in her birthplace.

Lili Boulanger

(1893-1918)
Lili Boulanger

Lili Boulanger

Marie-Juliette Olga Lili Boulanger (French: [bu.lɑ̃.ʒe]; 21 August 1893 – 15 March 1918) was a French composer, the younger sister of the noted composer and composition teacher Nadia Boulanger.
A Parisian-born child prodigy, Boulanger's talent was apparent at the age of two, when Gabriel Fauré, a friend of the family and later one of Boulanger's teachers, discovered she had perfect pitch. Her parents, both of whom were musicians, encouraged their daughter's musical education.
In 1912 Boulanger competed in the Prix de Rome but during her performance she collapsed from illness. She returned in 1913 at the age of 19 to win the composition prize for her Faust et Hélène, becoming the first woman composer to win the prize.

Read more at the Centre International Nadia et Lili Boulanger.

Dominick Argento

(1927-)
Dominick Argento

Dominick Argento

Dominick Argento (born October 27, 1927) is an American composer known for his lyric operatic and choral music. Among his best known pieces are the operas Postcard from Morocco, Miss Havisham's Fire, The Masque of Angels, and The Aspern Papers. He also is known for the song cycles Six Elizabethan Songs and From the Diary of Virginia Woolf; the latter earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1975. In a predominantly tonal context, his music freely combines tonality, atonality and a lyrical use of twelve-tone writing, though none of Argento's music approaches the experimental avant garde fashions of the post-World War II era.
Argento has written fourteen operas as well as major song cycles, orchestral works, and many choral pieces for small and large forces. Many of these were commissioned for and premiered by Minnesota-based artists.

At the Specs On! Festival, a selection of his song cycle "From the Diary of Virginia Woolf" will be performed.

Charlotte Bray

(1981-)
Charlotte Bray

Charlotte Bray

Charlotte Bray (born 1982, Oxford) is a British composer.
Bray studied cello and composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating with First Class Honours having studied with Joe Cutler. She then completed an MMus in composition with Distinction at the Royal College of Music. She has won numerous prizes, including the Royal Philharmonic Society composition prize 2010.
July 2012 saw the première of At the Speed of Stillness, a BBC Proms commission, with Sir Mark Elder conducting the Aldeburgh World Orchestra. Also, Invisible Cities, commissioned by Verbier Festival and performed by Lawrence Power and Julien Quentin; and Making Arrangements, a new chamber opera written for Tête à Tête Opera Festival, London.

More details at her website.

Rebecca Clarke

(1886-1979)
Rebecca Clarke

Rebecca Clarke

Rebecca Clarke (27 August 1886 – 13 October 1979) was an English classical composer and violist best known for her chamber music featuring the viola. She was born in Harrow and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music in London, later becoming one of the first female professional orchestral players.
Although Clarke wrote little, due in part to her ideas about the role of a female composer, her work was recognised for its compositional skill. Most of her works have yet to be published (or have only recently been published), and were largely forgotten after she stopped composing.

More details at theRebecca Clark Society.

Cécile Chaminade

(1857-1944)
Cécile Chaminade

Cécile Chaminade

Cécile Louise Stéphanie Chaminade (8 August 1857 – 13 April 1944) was a French composer and pianist.
Born in Paris, she studied at first with her mother, then with Félix Le Couppey on piano, Marie Gabriel Augustin Savard, Martin Pierre Marsick on violin, and Benjamin Godard in music composition, but not officially, since her father disapproved of her musical education.
Though many of Chaminade's piano compositions received good reviews from critics, many of her other endeavors and more serious works did not, though this may have been due to gender prejudices. Most of her compositions were published during her lifetime and were financially successful.

Fanny Hensel

(1805-1847)
Fanny Hensel

Fanny Hensel

Fanny Mendelssohn (14 November 1805 – 14 May 1847), later Fanny [Cäcilie] Mendelssohn Bartholdy and, after her marriage, Fanny Hensel, was a German pianist and composer.
Fanny shared the early musical education and upbringing of her younger brother Felix, including tuition from Carl Friedrich Zelter and others. Zelter indeed at one point favoured Fanny over Felix: he wrote to Goethe in 1816, in a letter introducing Abraham Mendelssohn to the poet, 'He has adorable children and his oldest daughter could give you something of Sebastian Bach. This child is really something special'.
Fanny Mendelssohn composed over 460 pieces of music. Her compositions include a piano trio and several books of solo piano pieces and songs. A number of her songs were originally published under Felix's name in his opus 8 and 9 collections. Her piano works are often in the manner of songs, and many carry the name Lied ohne Worte (Song without Words). This style (and title) of piano music was most successfully developed by Felix Mendelssohn, though some modern scholars assert that Fanny may have preceded him in the genre.

Read more at FannyHensel.de.

Eddie McGuire

(1948-)
Eddie McGuire

Eddie McGuire

Edward ("Eddie") McGuire (born 1948 in Glasgow) is a Scottish composer. He studied composition with James Iliff at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1966 to 1970 and then with Ingvar Lidholm in Stockholm in 1971.
He received a British Composers' Award in 2003. In 2004 he received a Creative Scotland Award which allowed him to create the work Defying Fate. He was commissioned to produce the finale for the 2006 St Magnus Festival, Ring of Strings.


At the Specs On! Festival, his composition "Women's Voices" will have its European Premiere.

Michael Djupstrom

(1980-)
Michael Djupstrom

Michael Djupstrom

The work of composer and pianist Michael Djupstrom has been recognized through honors and awards from institutions such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Chinese Fine Arts Society, the UK's Delius Society, and the Académie musicale de Villecroze, among many others. His compositions have been presented across the United States, Europe, and Asia and have been released on numerous commercial recordings. As a pianist, he has appeared at festivals and in cities throughout the world.
Djupstrom was born in St. Paul, Minnesota (USA) in 1980 and studied music formally at the University of Michigan and the Curtis Institute of Music. Other training included fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Brevard Music Center, as well as studies in Paris with Betsy Jolas. He currently lives in Philadelphia, where he teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music.

At the Specs On! Festival, his composition "Three Teasdale Songs" will have its European Premiere.

More details at his website.

Luise Greger

(1862-1944)
Luise Greger

Luise Greger

Luise Greger, born Sumpf (* 27 December 1862 in Greifswald; † 26. Januar 1944 in Kloster Merxhausen) was a german Composer and Singer.
From the age of five she took piano lessons, and already when she was eleven she started to compose. In 1880s she started her studies at the Royal Academy of Berlin (these days Universität der Künste Berlin), but left after only a year, since they didn't accept women at the composition classes.

"A world was torn down within me, and a deep oposition rose within me against the order that the men had created. Gradually the decision to leave the academy grew strong and I decided to give myself the training that I needed to become a composer as well as I could."

Luise Greger composed over a 100 songs, which was mostly published by herself, and to some extent at different publishers. Her creative period streches from late 1890s to early 1930s.

More details at the Greger website.

Alma Mahler

(1879-1964)
Alma Mahler

Alma Mahler

Alma Maria Mahler Gropius Werfel (born Alma Maria Schindler; 31 August 1879 – 11 December 1964) was a Viennese-born composer.
Alma played the piano from childhood and in her memoirs reports that she first attempted composing at age 9. She studied composition with Josef Labor beginning in 1895. She met Alexander von Zemlinsky in early 1900, began composition lessons with him that fall, and continued as his student until her engagement with Gustav Mahler (December 1901), after which she ceased composing. Up until that time, she had composed or sketched many Lieder, and also worked on instrumental pieces as well as a segment of an opera. She may have resumed composing after 1910, at least sporadically, but the chronology of her songs is difficult to establish because she did not date her manuscripts.
Only a total of 17 songs by her survived.

Barbara Strozzi

(1619-1677)
Barbara Strozzi

Barbara Strozzi

Barbara Strozzi (also called Barbara Valle; baptised 6 August 1619 – 11 November 1677) was an Italian Baroque singer and composer.
Strozzi is unique among both male and female composers for publishing her works in single-composer volumes, rather than in collections. She was said to be "the most prolific composer - man or woman - of printed secular vocal music in Venice in the Middle of the century." Her output is also unique in that it only contains secular vocal music, with the exception of one volume of sacred songs. She was renowned for her poetic ability as well as her compositional talent. Her lyrics were often poetic and well-articulated.
Born in Venice, Barbara was adopted and baptized into the Strozzi family. She was most likely illegitimate, the daughter of Giulio Strozzi and Isabella Garzon, his long-time servant and heir. Giulio encouraged his daughter's talent, even creating an academy in which Barbara's performances could be validated and displayed publicly. He seemed to be interested in exhibiting her considerable vocal talents to a wider audience. However, her singing was not her only talent. She was also compositionally gifted, and her father arranged for her to study with composer Francesco Cavalli.

More details at the Strozzi Blog.