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two hundred and fifty years
of music by women

What follows is a brief list of other composers you might like to pursue. I don't necessarily have personal experience of these works. Again, I make no attempt to be comprehensive.

picture of Alfrida Andrée
ELFRIDA ANDRÉE (1841-1929)

Swedish; she was the first woman organist and telegraphist in Sweden, the first to compose chamber and orchestral music and the first to conduct a symphony orchestra. She used her influence to revise a law enabling women to hold the office of organist, and in 1861 was employed as an organist in Stockholm. She was a typical feminist, and her motto was 'the education of womankind'. She composed over 100 works, in the style of contemporary Scandinavian composers influenced by Schumann and Mendelssohn.

Works include: Piano Quintet in e minor; Piano Quartet in a minor; 2 String Quartets; 2 Piano Trios; 2 Violin Sonatas; 2 Organ Symphonies; 2 Masses; various songs.

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ANTONIA BEMBO (1643-1715)

Italian; she studied with Francesco Cavalli, and sang for Louise XIV in Paris; he awarded her a pension. Her music dates from 1797 to after 1707, and includes sacred and secular vocal compositions, which she dedicated to Louise XIV and other members of the royal family. Her music is notable for fine vocal writing, clever word painting, attractive dissonances, and some quirky instrumental writing.

Works include: chamber pieces on Italian, French and Latin texts; two Te Deums and a 5 voiced Italian Serenata; Motets, and a setting of Psalm xix; the opera Ercole amante (1707); and Les sept Pseaumes de David.

Further information contact: La Donna Musicale: email -
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English; she won all the composition prizes at the Royal Academy of Music, and was the first composer chosen from the RAM for the J. Arthur Rank Apprentice Scheme in 1947 to study film music. She wrote the music for 35 films, had her works performed at the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts in London, and won various composition prizes.

Works include: String Quartet No 1 (1945); One Damn Thing After Another (1947); Concerto for Piano & Strings (1948); Bishop Rock (1952); String Quartet No 2 (1952); Five Diversions for Wind Quintet (1953); Suffolk Suite (1964).

Contact: Alwyn Foundation: telephone (UK) 01480 456 931
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picture of Sophie Dunér

Swedish; she studied with Hal Crook, Tom McGagh & Mili Bermejo at Berklee College of Music & Stockhausen Music Course. Her music may be described as a blend of the romantic and the spiritually elevated with a dissonant, bold and satirical edge, having her roots in jazz. As producer Michael Haas has it: "It's not fusion, it's Dúneresque - a newly created genre!" Influenced by Stravinsky's jazz period but also compared to Tim Burton. "The City of My Soul" is on Big Round Records/PARMA recordings. She is a 4 time award winner from The Arts Council in Sweden.

Works include: The City of My Dreams (2009); Kairo (2007); Red Sailor Girl (2007); The Rain in Spain (2000); Captain Crunch (2000); The Multiple Useful (2000); Happy People (2000); Silent Revolution (1997); Jack the Ripper (1995).

Further information contact: Sophie Dunér: email -
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DOROTHY GOW (1893-1982)

English; she studied with Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music and with Egon Wellesz in Vienna. The Macnaghten-Lemare concerts regularly included her chamber music, which was appreciated for its great beauty and individuality. Her best known work is the String Quartet in One Movement (1947), published by OUP in 1957.

Her Oboe Quintet (1936) was revived in an Oboe Classics (2006) recording by George Caird. An enthusiastic listener wrote "Dorothy Gow produced an overwhelming torrent of fabulous harmony and intricate sound patterns that suddenly made complete sense of serial music."

photo of Juliana Hall JULIANA HALL (b 1958),

American; she studied with Dominick Argento, Martin Bresnick, Leon Kirchner, and Frederic Rzewski. Known primarily as an Art Song composer, Hall's music has been performed in 24 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and broadcast on BBC, NPR, Radio France, Radio MonaLisa, and Radio ArtsIndonesia. Hall received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989 and among her commissions are two from the Schubert Club of St. Paul, MN for song cycles for soprano Dawn Upshaw and baritone David Malis.

Works include SONG CYCLES: Night Dances (1987); Letters from Edna (1989); Peacock Pie (1989); Syllables of Velvet, Sentences of Plush (1989); Winter Windows (1989); Fables for a Prince (1990); Death's Echo (1992); Propriety (1992); Two Birds (1995); Love's Pilgrimage (2000); One Art (2003); Seeker of Truth (2006); The Poets (2007); Songs of Innocence (2009); Upon This Summer's Day (2010); and INSTRUMENTAL COMPOSITIONS: Ding Dong Bell (2007); A Certain Tune (2009); Crucifixus (2010); Orpheus Singing (2010); Two-Bit Variations (2010); The Ballad of Barnaby (2011); and The Dream of the Rood (2011).

Contact: email -;  web -

photo of Vitezslava Kapralova

Czech; studied in Brno, Prague and Paris; Martinu was an important teacher and friend. Stylistically she mixes a concise polytonality with her own melancholy melodic expression. She conducted the BBC SO in her Military Sinfonietta at the 1938 ISCM Festival in London.

Works include: January (1933); Piano Concerto in D minor, Op 7 (1935); Suite en miniature (1935); Military Sinfonietta, op 11 (1937); Ilena, Op 15 (1938); Trio for Oboe, Clarinet & Bassoon (1938); Waving Farewell (1938); Suita rustica, Op 19 (1938); Partita for Piano & String Orchestra, Op 20 (1939); Concertino for Violin, Clarinet & Orchestra, Op 21 (1939).

Contact: email -;    web -

photo of Thea Musgrave

Scottish; studied with Hans Gal and Nadia Boulanger. Her output covers a wide range, from full-length stage works to simple a cappella choral motets, from brass band music to educational piano duets. She has been commissioned by the Royal Opera House Covent Gardern, Scottish Opera, and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera.

Works include: Chamber Concertos (1962, 1966, 1967); Concerto for Orchestra (1967); Mary, Queen of Scots (1977); Christmas Carol (1979); The Last Twilight (1980); Harriet, a Woman called Moses (1984); Pierrot (1985); Echoes Through Time (1988); The Seasons (1988); Song of the Enchanter (1990); Wild Winter (1993); Simon Bolivar (1992).

Publisher Contact: email -;    web -

photo of Rhian Samuel

Welsh; educated in Britain and the United States. She is Emeritus Professor at City University, London, where until 2009 she taught composition and supervised doctoral research into the music of women composers. She now teaches composition part-time at Magdalen College, Oxford. She co-edited with Julie Anne Sadie The Norton/New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers (1994). Her music is published by Stainer and Bell and a CD of her chamber music, Light and Water, is available on the Deux-Elles label.

Works include: orchestral music Elegy-Symphony (1980 for the St Louis Symphony Orchestra); Clytemnestra (1994; soprano & orchestra); Tirluniau/Landscapes (2000 BBC Proms - BBC National Orchestra of Wales).

Contact: email -;    web -

photo of Susie Self
SUSIE SELF (b1957)

English; she studied with Stephen Dodgson, Alan Ridout and John Cage. Her works have been performed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Brighton, Buxton and Barcelona Festivals, and on BBC Radios 3 and 4. She received a special commendation in the 2004 Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for opera for her music theatre piece based on Jung's life.

Works include: Heron (12'; 1999); What does a Wizard do? (12'; 2000); Heroic Women (80'; 2001); White Crane Spreads Wings (12'; 2001); The Vicar of Stiffkey (12'; 2003) Magnificat/Nunc Dimitis (8'; 2004); South Wind at Clear Dawn (10'; 2003); Great Wave (8'20"); Amida Waterfall (7'20"); 1st symphony (for soprano & symphony orchestra); Three John Drinkwater poems (10'; 2004); Memories, Dreams, Reflections (for mezzo & symphony orchestra; 30'44"; 2004).

Contact: email -;    web -

photo of Barbara Thompson

English composer and saxophonist; she had a classical training at the Royal College of Music, while also being inspired by the jazz work of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. In 1977 she formed her own group Paraphernalia, which has toured and recorded extensively. She was awarded an MBE for services to music in 1995. Her performer's understanding of communicating with an audience gives her compositions a popular directness and dynamism.

Works include: Concerto for Three Saxophones & Symphony Orchestra (23'; 1987); Love Songs in Age (50'; 1995); Rhythm of the Gods (50'; 1998); 3 Saxophone Quartets (2001-3); Journey to an Unknown Destination (50'; 2003); Theme & Variations on Mack the Knife, for alto sax & string quartet; Je Ne t'aime pas for sop sax & string quartet; Taking No Prisoners for bass marinba, & grand piano ; (4'; 2003); Tuba Concerto; for EbTuba & Big Band; (2004); Mirages Concerto No 2 for Saxophone Quartet & String Ensemble (2004); Skat, for Piano & Strings (14'; 2004). The Ambache Chamber Ensemble have recorded her arrangement of Green on their CD Melodic Lines.
Contact: email -;    web -

photo of Margaret Lucy Wilkins, by Huddersfield Examiner, UK

English; she was Principal Lecturer in Music at the University of Huddersfield from 1976 to 2003. She has received many awards, including a Scottish Arts Council Award for Composers, and an Arts Council of Great Britain Award for Young British Composers. Her works have been performed at International Festivals in many European countries, and in the USA and Canada. She displays a strong dramatic, gestural and visual approach to sound. Sonic architecture is a feature of her musical aesthetic.

Works include: Struwwelpter (15'; 1973); Burnt Sienna: Etude for String Trio (11'; 1974); 366" for solo trombone (7'; 1986); Symphony (22'; 1989); Musica Angelorum (11'; 1991). Rituelle (7 mobile groups; 16'; 1999); Trompettes de Mort (4 brass & piano;10'; 2003)

Contact: email -;
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Welsh; she studied with Vaughan Williams and Gordon Jacob in London and Egon Wellesz in Vienna. Most of her major works were written in response to commissions from the BBC, the Royal National Eisteddford and Festivals at Cardiff and Swansea. Her music includes Welsh folk melody and is shaped by the rhythms of old Welsh poetry and oratory.

Works include: Fantasia on Old Welsh Nursery Tunes (1940); Sinfonia Concertante for Piano & Orchestra (1940); Symphony No 1 (1943); Sea Sketches for String Orchestra (1944); The Dancers (1951); Penillion (1955); Symphony No 2 (1956); Ave Maris Stella (1973).
Contact: Welsh Music Information Centre: telephone (UK) 029 2063 5640);
Principal publisher: Oxford University Press: telephone 01865 267749

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