About: Women composers’ names are still largely absent from music textbooks and concert programs that constitute the Western canon, even though a large number of women have composed music. The reasons for women’s exclusion are various.
The musicologist Marcia Citron speculated that women composers were deemed less important than men because women typically wrote smaller works, such as art songs, rather than large works, such as symphonies, for public performance in large halls. Female composers were long barred from the profession, owing in part to the essentialist notion that women could not, in Citron’s words, “control emotion with logic and reason, masculine attributes requisite for composition.” Women were systematically denied access to compositional training and musical performances, and were castigated by critics for writing music that was either too feebly feminine or too unbecomingly masculine. Because the discrimination against women composers is related to general societal attitudes about gender or perceived roles of men and women, many musicologists and critics have come to incorporate gender studies in assessing the history and practice of the art.
Some notable Western female composers and musicians include:
Playlist of Excerpts
wife of Robert Schumann
considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era.
She was the first to perform publicly any work by Brahms.