Eleanor Alberga's diverse musical background combines
classical training with experience as a member of the
internationally acclaimed Jamaican Folk Singers and an
authentic African dance company. A finalist in England's
National Piano Competition, she has performed at the Royal
Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Covert Garden.
She was also the "ghost pianist" in the popular
British film "Truly, Madly, Deeply" directed
by Anthony Minghella of "The English Patient."
Alberga's music has been commissioned and performed by
the London Philharmonic, London Mozart Players, London
Chamber Symphony, European Women's Orchestra and the "Women
in Music" inaugural festival. Her orchestral piece
"Sun Warrior" made its acclaimed U.S. premiere
with the Women's Philharmonic in 1997.(11/08/97)
Beach, Amy Marcy Cheney (1867-1944) A gifted pianist
and composer, Amy Beach was for the most part self-taught
in musical composition. Her compositions in the larger
genres of symphony, mass, and concerto were performed
widely by major orchestras both here and abroad, especially
between 1893 and 1914. Beach is one of the first U.S.
women composers to have achieved such prominence. Her
musical gifts, combined with first-class craftswomanship,
earned her great respect and popularity during her lifetime.
As of 1940, only three of her 150 opus numbers remained
unpublished, a remarkable record for any American composer.
Typical of the late Romantic period, her larger works
exhibit lush chromaticism, many altered chords, broadly
spun-out melodies which involve development of themes
and complex harmonies.
The Violin and Piano Sonata in a minor was composed in
six weeks in 1896, after completing her Gaelic Symphony.
The piece thoroughly reflects Amy Beach's distinctive
musical personality and technical mastery. The contrasting
themes, muscular and melodious, are skillfully manipulated
into a solid structural design. Each movement has its
own themes, each theme its key. In the scherzo the piu
lento eruption, with its change of key and meter, has
an ostinato in the violin while the piano carries the
theme, the violin will then take over before the return
to the original tempo. The same technical excellence is
sustained in the closing allegro con fuoco. (10/23/94)
Boulanger , Lili (1893-1918) The music of Lili
Boulanger reflects a post-Romantic world. In her short
lifetime, this remarkable composer accomplished a great
deal, buoyed by a combination of prodigious talent, sheer
will and a supportive family. The year 1910 marked a turning
point. The seventeen year-old increasingly aware of the
likelihood of an early death, decided to devote all her
energies to becoming a composer. She was the first woman
to win the prestigious Prix de Rome award by the Conservatoire.
Boulanger's music is typically French and resembles Debussy.
Her compositions reveal her nationality in the emphasis
on color and sonority exploring new combinations, registers,
and texture in the piano, and utilizing the Impressionists'
harmonic palette of non-functional seventh and ninth chords,
parallel chords, and modal progression. (06/11/94) (06/02/95)
Boulanger, Nadia was born into a musical family,
her father a composer and professor of violin at the Paris
Conservatoire and her mother a mezzo-soprano. She herself
studied harmony, organ and composition at the Paris Conservatoire
but she was most famous as a pedagogue. She joined the
American Conservatory at Fontainebleau in 1921, becoming
its director in 1950 and continuing her association until
her death in 1979. Most of the best-known composers of
the twentieth century made the pilgrimage to study with
Mme. Boulanger, including Aaron Copland, Walter Piston,
Lennox Berkeley and many others. She was known for her
detailed knowledge of an enormous amount of music ranging
from Monteverdi to the latest modern works. She was also
active as a conductor, becoming the first woman to conduct
a symphony orchestra in London in 1937, and giving the
premiere of Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks Concerto in 1938
in Washington, D. C. She composed a small body of music,
mostly vocal, and won the Prix de Rome in 1908. These
three pieces for cello were written in 1915, and are rarely
performed. All three are in minor keys and reflect her
fondness for the music of Fauré. (02/19/95)
Chen Yi - The compositions of Chen Yi not only
bridge and blend East and West, but stand on their own
in originality, color and emotion. Beginning in China,
her orchestral works have been recorded by the China Record
Company and her chamber music featured in Sound and Silence,
a series of films on contemporary music co-produced by
the International Society of Contemporary Music. As a
graduate of the Central Conservatory of Beijing, she studied
composition with Wu Zu-qiang and Alexander Goehr. Chen
Yi obtained her Doctor of Musical Arts degree with distinction
in May 1993 from Columbia University in New York. There,
she studied with Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky.
Ms. Chen has been commissioned to compose for the Central
Philharmonic of China, Brooklyn Philharmonic, The New
York New Music Consort, Pro Musicis of New York, ALEA
III of Boston, Hong Kong Chinese Opera, and Taipei Municipal
Chinese Classical Orchestra. On the West Coast, she has
composed for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco
Contemporary Music Players, The Women's Philharmonic,
Chanticleer, and San Jose Chamber and Oakland Youth Orchestras.
Among her awards for composition are a 1994 NEA composer
fellowship, a Meet The Composer/Reader's Digest award,
a Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University Commissioning
grant, and Lili Boulanger Award from the National Women
Composers Resource Center (US). Until 1996, Ms. Chen serves
as Composer-in-Residence for the Women's Philharmonic,
Chanticleer, and Aptos Creative Arts program in San Francisco.
She is a frequent guest lecturer and composer on university
campuses throughout the United States. (03/24/95)
Clarke, Rebecca was born in Hassow. Engish composer,
violist and violinist. Entered Royal Academy of Music,
London (RAM) in 1902 to study violin. Later in 1908, became
Standford's first woman composer. Student at Royal College
of Music, London (RCM) and was encouraged by him to take
up viola. From 1911 played in various chamber groups with
the d'Aranyi sisters, Myra Hess, and Suggia. Composed
58 songs and partsongs and 24 instrumental chamber works.
Song "Shy One" (Yeats) was often sung by Gervase
Elwes. Printed works include Viola Sonata (1918-19); Piano
Trio (1920-21); wrote onl y one wrok (a setting of Blake's
The Tiger 1939) after 1930 until she settled in
U.S.A. in 1939, when she composed more instrumental works
and songs. Married James Friskin , the pianist in 1944.
Gubayduline, Sofiya Asgatovna (b. Chistopol' 24
Oct 1931). Russian composer. She studied with Peyko and
Shebalin at the Moscow Conservatory (1954-62). During
the 1960's and 70's, she wrote primarily chamber music,
which is charicterized by a radical expansion of the range
of musical sound and by use of seriel techniques, as in
Noch'v Memfise ('Night in Memphis', 1968). She then explored
the potential of Ochestral and vocal genres, paying particular
attention to th role of rhythm and time; her experiments
in the role of rests culminated in the solo for conductor
in the symphony Stimmen...Verstummen...(1986). In Alleluja
(1990) she gives coloured light a rhythmic function and
this determines the structure of the work. Her music has
a strong religious basis. (09/09/95) (09/10/95)
Hensel, Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847), born in
Hamburg, was the granddaughter of the renowned philosopher
Moses Mendelssohn and daughter of Abraham and Lea Solomon
Mendelssohn. As eldest of four children, she was senior
to Felix by four years. Her mother taught her to play
the piano. In 1816 her family moved to Paris, where Felix
and Fanny studied with Mme. Marie Bigot. She performed
J.S. Bach's entire Well-Tempered Clavier when she was
13 years old and composed her first song the next year
in honor of her father's birthday. She studied piano with
Ludwig Berger (1777-1839) and composition with Carl Friedrich
Zelter (1758-1832), director of the Berlin Singakademie.
She married Wilhelm Hensel in 1829. She published two
of her songs in a collection with works by her brother
in 1827. Hensel took over the tradition of Sunday morning
concerts at her parents' home in Berlin.
Although Fanny Hensel wrote over four hundred works in
her time, the majority of her compositions were never
published. In spite of the fact that Hensel received practically
the same musical training as her brother Felix, her father
and brother did not encourage her to compose. This convinced
the dutiful daughter and sister not to submit her works
to publishers for many years. There is no doubt that Hensel
could have composed symphonies like Felix, but she is
known principally as one writing songs, piano pieces,
and piano trios. Hensel was a formidable pianist herself,
with a preference for the repertoire of J. S. Bach, Beethoven,
and her brother, Felix Mendelssohn. However, in spite
of the rise of the touring virtuoso pianist in the Romantic
period, Hensel, with few exceptions, confined her pianistic
appearances to the weekly concerts held at her parents'
Hoh,Shi-Shien (1919- ) graduated from Shanghai
Conservatory of Music as a composition major in 1948.
Her teachers including famous music professor Shao-Lin
Tan and German professor Frankle.
Ms. Hoh is awell-known woman composer in China. Her compositions
portray wide range of harmonic and melodic creativity
with strong cultural traits. The piece “All the People
around the World United into One” received the Musical
First Prize in the Third International Youth Festival.
Her chorus piece “The Proletarians in the World United”
won the First Prize of the 1964 National Chorus Competition
in China. Also, her children song “The Past My Mother
Tells Me” was honored First Prize in Music in the Second
National Children Creative Art Competition. Many musical
pieces and songs Ms. Hoh wrote are reconized by most Chinese
In 1981, Ms. Hoh was invited with Russian woman
composers to attend the Women Composers’ Forum in Italy.
Horst, Martha Callison began her formal
composition studies at Stanford University where she studied
with Ross Bauer, David Rakowski, and John Chowning at
CCRMA. She has attended several national and international
festivals where she has studied with such composers as
Milton Babbitt and Mario Davidovsky. She was recently
one of four composers invited to attend the Scotia Festival
of Music in Nova Scotia to study with Oliver Knussen and
Peter Lieberson. Ms. Horst is currently finishing
her Ph.D. in composition and theory where she is continuing
work Ross Bauer. In addition to her compositional activities,
she is also an active singer, performing regularly with
the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. (04/14/96)
Klumpkey, Julia lived in France during the post-Impressionism
period. The piece was composed at the same time as Prokofiev's
second violin concerto, Stravinsky's Les Noces and Bartok's
second piano concerto. Although "Quatre Pieces"
was composed post-Impressionism period, the pieces content
impressionistic traits such as the use of color effects
with harmony, evoke a mood, an "atmosphere"
with suggestive titles, dance rhythms and the use of pentatonic,
whole tone scales.
Quatre Pieces was composed in the year of 1932. Rayon
de Lune and Danse are dedicated to Mademoiselle Diendonne.
Nostalgie and Canon are dedicated to Monsieur Benoit.(03/07/97)
Lobos, Lucilia Guimaraes Villa (1879-1967) was
a child prodigy, a conservatory-educated, professional
pianist, composer and teacher before she met and married
the best-known Brazilian composer of their generation.
For more than twenty years she probably composed much
of what has been credited to him. They had no children.
After their separation, for the next thirty-five years,
she continued to compose, perform, conduct and teach.
Of her works, only a few songs for voice and piano survive.
Her students posthumously collected these and many of
her choral works and choral arrangements of folksongs
into six volumes. As a master teacher, she organized and
directed many choral ensembles, and helped design and
direct Brazil's experiment in teaching singing to all
Luengen, Ramona has composed extensively in the
choral genre. Her works have been performed in Canada,
Europe, New Zealand and Australia by award-winning ensembles
such as Chanticleer, Elektra Women’s Choir and the Vancouver
Cantata singers. Ms. Luengen’s Stabat Mater, premiered
in 1995, was named Outstanding Choral Work and Choral
Event of the Year by the Association of Canadian Choral
Conductors. In 1995, she was named the new artistic director
of the Phoenix Chamber Choir. Ms. Luengen is on the faculty
of the University of British Columbia’s School of Music.(04/30/98)
Medvedovskaya, Natalia - one of the most talented
and individual young composers of St. Petersburg, was
born in 1974 and began to compose at age 6. In 1989 she
was a prize-winner at the "Young Virtuosi" International
Piano Competition in Czecheslovakia. She is currently
in her last year in the composition department of the
St. Petersburg Conservatory. She has written for a variety
of genres, including piano miniatures, a concertino for
2 pianos, a scherzo for violin and piano, pieces for harp
and flute, for woodwind quartet, string quartet, and vocal
settings of poems by Pasternak and Tsvetaeva. Her works
have been performed on radio and television, in Composer's
House, Philharmonic Maly Zal (Small Hall) and other halls.(04/24/98)
Paradis, Maria Theresia Von (1759-1824) - Noted
Austrian pianist, organist, singer, and composer. She
was the daughter of Josef von Paradis, the imperial court
secretary. She studied piano with L. Kozeluh, singing
with Richter, singing and dramatic composition with Salieri,
dramatic composition with Vogler, and theory with Friberth.
Beginning in 1775, Ms. Von Paradis appeared in concerts
in Vienna. She was blind from her 5th year. Mesmer, concerned
about her condition, attempted to cure her, without success.
She set out on a major concert tour in 1783, visiting
Salzburg, Frankfurt, Mainz, and other cities. In 1784
upon arrival in Paris, she was highly praised for her
appearances as both a keyboard artist and a singer at
the Concert Spirituel. Mozart composed a concerto for
her. She went to London in late 1784 and appeared at court
and in public concerts. She returned to Vienna in 1786
and continued to tour until she found her own music institute
there in 1808. Her friend and librettist Johann Riedinger
invented a notation system for her, and she became a skilled
composer. Much of her music is not extant. Ms. Von Paradis's
works included: Stage: Ariadne und Bacchus, Melodrama
(Laxenburg June 20, 1791) Der Schulkunditat, Ländiches
singspiel (Vienna Dec. 5, 1792) Rinando und Alcine, Die
Insel der Verfühurg, comic operal (Prague, June 30, 1797);
2 piano concertos; 3 cantatas; 4 piano sonatas (Amsterdam
1778); 12 piano sonatas (Paris 1792);Piano Trio (Vienna
1800) and other piano music and songs. (02/16/96)
Schwendinger, Laura Elise received her Ph.D. from
the University of California, Berkeley, where her principal
teacher was Andrew Imbrie. She has also studied with John
Adams, Olly Wilson, Milton Babbitt and Chinary Ung. Her
honors include The Charles Ives Scholarship from The American
Academy of Arts and Letters, The Judges’ Commendation
from The Barlow Endowment, the Norton Stevens fellowship
from the MacDowell Colony, two Meet the Composer Grants,
an American Composers Forum Grant and First Prize of the
1995 ALEA III International Composition Competition, becoming
the first American winner in over a decade.
Her Chanson Innocente was performed by Dawn Upshaw and
Gilbert Kalish at Carnegie Hall in New York, Herbst Theater
in San Francisco, Veteran’s Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles
and at Wigmore Hall in London. Her new work for The Theater
Chamber Players, Songs of Heaven and Earth, was premiered
at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on February 7.
She has also been performed by such groups as the New
York Camerata, ALEA III, the Chicago CUBE Ensemble, Washington
D.C.'s New Music Forum, the New Millennium Ensemble, Northwestern
University New Music Ensemble, Vancouver New Music, Fear
No Music of Portland and the Berkeley and Marin Symphony
Orchestras. Her music has been called "..music of
considerable power" by the San Francisco Chronicle,
as “fanciful” by the New York Times, as having "an
impressive luster and transparency", “poignant..”
and "revel(ing) in sinewy counterpoint "...
by the Washington Post, as “reflect(ting) both inner pain
and breast beating wails” by the Bethesda Gazette, and
as having “...an extravagant expressiveness” by The Seattle
Weekly. Her works have been performed at the Aspen, June
in Buffalo, Bowdoin, Bloch, Sandpoint, Pacific Contemporary,
Norfolk Chamber Music and April in Santa Cruz Festivals.
She has had residencies at the MacDowell,Yaddo, and Millay
Colonies, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and in July
1997, she was a fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s
Bellagio Center in Italy.
Dr. Schwendinger is an Assistant Professor of Music at
the University of Illinois at Chicago. For ten years she
was on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of
Music, Preparatory Division, where she developed a program
for young composers. She has also been a lecturer at the
Music Department of the University of California, Santa
Cruz, and at Smith College, and an Associate Researcher
at the Five College Women¹s Studies Research Center. Her
Chamber Concerto reviewed in The American Record Guide
as "melodic and atmospheric" is available on
the Capstone label. (10/21/98)
Sergueyeva, Tatyana was born in 1951 in the City
of Kalanin (now Tver'), Russia. As a composer, Mrs. Sergueyeva
first attracted the public's attention in the late 1970s.
In 1977 and 1979 she won the First Prize in the All-Russia
Union Competition of Young Composers. In 1987 she was
awarded the prize of Russia's Union of Composers for her
Second Piano Concerto. In the 1980s, her pieces were performed
in Poland, Mexico and Spain. As a composer and performer,
she took part in the International Festival for "Artists
for Peace" in West Berlin, and in the "Women
and Culture" Festival in Heidelberg and "New
Beginnings" Festival in Glasgow. She was also among
the participants in the Sofia Gubaidulina Festival in
Brussels and in the "Italian- Soviet Music"
Festival in Latina, Italy and was welcomed to the Festival
of Soviet and American Music in Albany, New York.
Mrs. Sergueyeva graduated in 1975 from the Moscow Conservatoire
where she studied piano under I. Roschina and organ and
harpsichord under N. Gureyeva. Also, she studied composition
under A. Nikolayev in 1979 and 1981.
Mrs. Sergueyeva's favorite medium is chamber music, especially
chamber ensemble. In her view, it provides her with opportunities
to create and perform dialogues between the instruments
which resemble the dialogues of characters in a play.
The parts of each voice or instrument in such ensemble
works are expressive and emotionally wide-ranging. The
artistic ideas expressed in her compositions are extremely
varied. Sometimes she derives inspiration from ancient
mythology, such as in her trio "Daphne", septet
"Dionysus", two songs to Yelena Kryukova's verses
"Aphrodite and the Dolphin". Some of her work
has been dedicated to Russian poetry from the Eighteenth
Century. But in the main, her music depicts the conflicts
of modern life. One can often detect a slight touch of
irony in her work, even an element of parody and of the
grotesque; all this interwoven however with genuine lyricism.
No matter what images or moods emerge from her music,
a bright and cheery optimism, with a bacchanalian "joie
de vivre" pervade all of Mrs. Sergueyeva's works.
Tan, Su Lian was born in Malaysia and studied
at Princeton University, The Juilliard School, and Bennington
College. Her pieces have been perfromed by members of
the San Francisco Symphony, the Cassat Quartet and the
Chicago Ensemble, among others. She has won numerous awards,
including a grant from Meet the Composer and residencies
at Yaddo and MacDowell Colony. Ms. Tan is currently on
teh faculty of Middlebury College, and has taught at Bennington
Tower, Joan was born (1938) in New Rochelle, New
York, but grew up in South America. Her father was a mining
engineer and the family moved frequently, living in Bolivia,
Peru and Chile. In spite of this traveling childhood,
Tower always managed to find piano lessons wherever her
family was living. She returned in the United States as
a teenager in 1955 and three years later went to Bennington
College, Vermont, to study music. At Bennington, Tower
started writing music and hearing it played, although
the main focus of her musical activity was as a pianist.
Tower graduated in 1961 and went to Columbia University,
where she studied for a master's degree in theory and
history of music. Much later in 1978, she received a doctorate
in composition from Columbia. Her teachers included Otto
Luening, Ralph Shapry and Darius Milhaud. Her early works,
such Percussion Quartet (1963) or Movements for Flute
and Piano (1968) are complex and angular, using elaborate
Like so many performers who are also composers, Tower
discovered that one of the best ways to combine making
a living with making opportunities for her music to be
heard was to form her own ensemble. In 1969 she founded
the Da Capo Chamber Players, a group consisting of flute,
clarinet, violin, cello and piano that specializes in
playing contemporary music and commissioning new works.
The Da Capo Players have been extremely successful, wining
a prestigious Naumburg award in 1973.
Tower's chamber works from the late 1970s and early 1980s
are often inspired by particular images. For an example,
She wrote a series of three pieces in memory of her father
which each explore the properties of a different mineral
or precious stone.
In 1984 Tower stopped performing with the Da Capo Players
in order to concentrate on composition, although she continued
to teach at Bard College in Annandale, New York where
she has worked since 1972. From 1985 to 1988 she was composer-in-residence
fro St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Her first work for the
orchestra "Silver Ladders" (1986) won an international
Grawerneyer Award and has been performed all over the
That year Tower also wrote the first in her series Fanfare
for the Uncommon Woman. The first fanfare, for brass and
percussion, was a tribute to Aaron Copland(composer of
Fanfare for the Common Man) and 'to adventurous women
who take risks'.
Tower's concern for writing music that works for its performers,
doubtless born from her many years as a pianist, can be
seen in her series of concertos, from Music for Cello
and Orchestra(1984) through the virtuosic concertos for
piano(1985) to the colorful Concerto for Violin(1992).
A rather different work is Island Prelude(1985) for oboe
and string orchestra, also arranged for oboe and string
or wind quintet. This is an essentially lyrical, slow-moving
piece with rich harmonies from the accompanying instruments.
Recalling her South-American childhood. Tower drew on
an image of brightly colored bird gliding and swooping
over a lush tropical island. Tower's biggest orchestral
work, the dramatic Concerto for Orchestra (1991), was
first performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, one
of three commissioning orchestras. The music gradually
build form a threatening opening to a series of powerful
climaxes interspersed with quieter moments of stillness
for small groups of instrument. (01/26/97)
Zaimont, Judith Lang (b. 1945), a
native of Memphis, Tennessee, holds degrees from Queens
College, CUNY, and Columbia University. She is a pianist
and a writer on musical/technical subjects as well as a
distinguished teacher (Peabody Conservatory of Music faculty
and The University of Minnesota Music faculty, where she
currently holds the rank of Full Professor). Among her many
composition awards, grants and prizes are a Guggenheim Fellowship,
a national First Prize for orchestra music, and awards from
the National Endowment for the Arts and the Presser Foundation.
Zaimont's music is frequently played in the United States
and abroad. Recent commissions include works for the Connecticut
Opera, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra (S. C. ), the Baltimore
Dance Theatre, the Vox Nova Wind Quintet (N.Y.), The First
International Art Song Festival, and the Gregg Smith Singers.
Her music is published principally by Galaxy Music Corp.,
with recordings on the Leonarda, Northeastern, and Golden
Of the "Snazzy Sonata" Ms. Zaimont says:
"The work is in four movements, each of which carries
a subtitle: Moderate Two-Step, Lazy Beguine, Be-Bop Scherzo,
and Valse Brillante. Its form follows traditional Sonata-Allegro
custom, but the musical materials derive from popular musical
idioms of various decades of this century, progressively
moving from the 20's to the 50's (the Valse Brillante is
similar to a Broadway overture of the 50's)." (12/03/95)
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