What connects composers such as Belgium’s Guillaume Lekeu, France’s Lili Boulanger, Bohemia’s Gideon Klein, Austria’s Hans Rott, and Vítězslava Kaprálová, who came from Moravia? Certainly it was their musical talent that was obvious in youth, and their successful early training and career, but also – unfortunately –their untimely deaths which cut short all the hopes invested in them. The Czech composer Kaprálová, born on 24 January 1915 in Brno, died at the age of 25, probably of the then incurable miliary tuberculosis, on 16 June 1940 in Montpellier.
Download the complete score of her piece Dubnová preludia (Prelude for April) here
“The Kelly Family, Elton John and Richard Wagner are my great role models”, says 23-year-old Alice Baumgartner. Even in high school, the Kelly Family fan from St. Gallen displayed a fascination for music. At the age of six she had her first piano lessons and sang in the children’s choir at the St. Gallen music school. In a brief appearance in La Bohème, her favourite opera, at the Stadttheater St. Gallen, she breathed the air of the stage for the first time, and dived into the theatre’s atmosphere. Soon afterwards, she took her first steps in the world of composition.
What is pop music? This question is the opening salvo of one entry in this collected volume. But the question could, if slightly altered, stand for the whole volume: what is popular music?
The Swiss conductor Hedy Salquin (*1928) won first prize at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1952, and in 1978, Graubünden’s Sylvia Caduff (*1937) was the first woman to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. What is the difference between them and the French conductor Claire Gibault (*1946)? The first two, having tried to practise their profession for more than a decade, had eventually to acknowledge that neither the public nor the musical world were ready to see or hear an orchestral work conducted by a woman …
Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Romania: these are the birthplaces of the composers at the Women Composers I festival of the Ensemble für Neue Musik Zurich (Hans-Peter Frehner, Manfred Spitaler, Lorenz Haas, Viktor Müller, Urs Bumbacher, Nicola Romano; www.ensemble.ch).
“Transhumance”, a word of French origin, describes the passage of cows to and from their summer pastures in the Alps. It is also a metaphor for the peregrinations of the Geneva percussionist Béatrice Graf. With her drums in her luggage, she spent a year and a half moving from place to place in Switzerland, giving concerts with different partners, mostly in the open air.
The biography of the Luxembourg composer Helen Buchholtz, born 1877, reads like the impressive life journey of a woman composer in the first half of the 20th century. Financially secure through her partial ownership of a company, she devoted herself principally to composing. …
…Music was always a central point of her life for Margrit Zimmermann: she went so far as to say, “I feel in music.” Hearing her powerful, succinct musical language, we get an impression of this composer’s energy potential, her inner drive to create music as an eruptive imperative; night after night …
Download the complete score of her piece Suoni per viola e pianoforte here
“The eye often makes different decisions from the ear.” Charlotte Hug, who wrote this, knows both perspectives. She performs on the viola and with her voice, she composes, and specialises in contemporary music. But she has another artistic side, running in parallel to her musical life. In her home town of Zurich, she studied both viola and fine art. An irreconcilable contradiction? “At some point,” she says, “I was supposed to choose between art and music. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t.” …
The writer and musician Iris Gerber tells of a woman whose creativity veers between brilliance and irascibility, confusion and love. The Bernese composer Margrit Zimmermann leads a life that is predestined for an opera libretto.
The musicologist and pianist Andrea Wiesli takes a new look at the sparsely documented history of music in Basel. She sheds light on an enormous reservoir of sources from the Basel State Archives, covering the role of amateur musicians in the city’s musical life. …
The third volume of the Musik und Gender yearbook documents a discussion of Gender Studies in Musicology held on 29 and 30 October 2009 at the Forschungszentrum Musik und Gender of the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover. This Festschrift is dedicated to the musicologist Eva Rieger on her 70th birthday.
Her work Winterserenade for flute, violin and viola was first heard in the “Lithuanian Chamber Music” series at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2009. This piece is a homage to Schubert and is based on the song “Gute Nacht” from Winterreise. But if you think that the composer wants credit where it is not due, you will soon find out you’re mistaken.…
The work of the British composer Sally Beamish (b. 1956) is comparatively unknown in Switzerland, but is highly regarded in Scandinavia and the USA. The Swedish label BIS has already recorded no fewer that five CDs of her music, including string quartets, works for cello and piano, and concertos for viola, cello and oboe.
The harpsichordist and composer Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre was the only woman whose talent, acknowledged by Louis XIV, enabled her to become a professional musician attached to the court, in the service of Mme de Montespan. Playing for the king’s pleasure in the intimacy of the “Petit Couvert”, she was also the only female musician to whom the king directly addressed his satisfaction.
International Highlights include presentations by the composers Rita Ueda, Evdokija Danajloska and Grazyna Bacewicz.
Although the prospects for the renewal and continuation of the FMF’s commitments were, until recently, still promising (see SMZ 3/2011, p. 64), since the beginning of April the society has faced a more challenging situation. At our annual meeting with the Federal Office of Culture (FOC), the FMF was told that new guidelines from 2012 mean the society most probably would not fulfil the requirements for receiving subsidies; this is primarily due to the association’s broad coverage (as a professional association, gender-differentiated source of arts funding, provider of basic materials for performance and research). In other words: the society is losing its major source of funding and thus also its material resources.
At an extraordinary meeting on 11 April 2011, the FMF Board decide to propose to the AGM on 28 May 2011 in Bern that the FMF’s achievements and concerns be transferred to existing institutions or to sections of such institutions that would be newly founded.
The Romanian composer Myriam Marbe was born in Bucharest on 9 April 1931, the daughter of a Jewish doctor, Maximilian Marbe. She started out as a pupil of her mother’s, the pianist and teacher Angela Marbe. Later she studied at the Musikhochschule in her home city. She went on to study composition with Leon Klepper and Mihail Jora, and at the same time participated actively in Romanian Folklore research (Sabin Drăgoi, Emilia Comisel), which profoundly influenced her work …
Her music has its own cadence, it is direct and accessible, but never ingratiating. Maria Porten has a feeling for the dramatic gesture: “Works like the ‘Tierlieder’ (Bertolt Brecht) and ‘lebelight’ (Ivar Breitenmoser) have something operatic about them. Her music touches us directly [...]”…
A collected volume documenting twenty years of the research focus “Frau und Musik” (Women and Music) at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. Edited by Sarah Chaker and Ann-Kathrin Erdélyi.
She had a high profile among the keyboard virtuosos of her era, she had piano concertos by Johann Baptist Cramer and Jan Ladislav Dussek dedicated to her, she was a friend of Viotti and Mme de Staël, and yet the stage did not interest her: music was the object of an interior quest much more than a way of impressing the outside world.
The Singing Rooms
The Singing Rooms for violin, choir and orchestra is a journey through various spaces of life. In this work, the American composer Jennifer Higdon (*1962) combines a total of seven spaces of experience, based on the spiritual poems of Jeanne Minahan…
…Manuela Keller’s Water Chute also features two well-known jazz musicians, the bass player Jan Schlegel and the drummer Marco Kappeli, who together with the trombonist Nick Gutersohn and Manuela Keller herself at the piano form the quartet idee manu; the album honours Olivier Messiaen and Erik Satie …
Following their first collaboration in 2007, Tidal Affairs is the second CD production of the duo Voices & Tides. In Tidal Affairs Franziska Baumann and Matthias Ziegler again succeed in producing beguiling links between acoustic and electronic sounds, in balanced and harmonious combination.
International Highlights include presentations by the composers Marta Ptaszyńska, Agata Zubel and Johanna Doderer.
Reorientation of the FMF
Please join in!
In 2012 the FMF celebrates its 30th anniversary. Round numbers are an opportunity to take stock, and to adapt tasks and activities to current needs. The FMF Board reflected on these issues at a day-long retreat in November 2010, and ascertained a need for action in the following areas: definition of priorities and fundraising in view of the severe cuts to funding; better use of electronic media (website) to distribute scores; and aggressive strategies to raise awareness of women in music. We are currently holding onto the name FrauenMusikForum for historical reasons – despite our realignment with the principle of equal opportunities for both sexes. The new policies will be implemented by unbundling conceptual and operational provisions in the Statutes, and transferring the operational provisions to the mission statement. With an eye to the 2011 AGM, the Board proposes a change to the Statutes which will be communicated and documented in a timely fashion. We look forward to as many members as possible attending.
The new FrauenMusikForum print medium “Bulletin” appeared for the first time in October 2010. This edition presents the Suite for Cornet in B flat or Trumpet and Piano by the Danish composer Hilda Sehested.
Download the score here.
The composer Hilda Sehested (1858-1936) was born in Broholm on Funen. The daughter of a landowner and archaeologist, she grew up with 13 siblings in a privileged environment, where there was interest in music and chamber music was played. She learnt the piano with C.F.E. Horneman, a famous Danish composer. In 1883 she studied in Paris with the pianist Louise Aglaé Massart, Louise Farrenc’s successor at the Conservatoire. [...]
The third edition of the Bulletin (October 2011) was its last before it was discontinued.
This unique publication gives an overview of numerous orchestral works by women composers that are available from various Swiss libraries or from music publishers. There is a particular focus on Swiss composers, which are indicated by the abbreviation “CH”. If you are interested, please contact the FrauenMusikForum Schweiz.
Following requests from church musicians, the FMF commissioned the Zurich organist Susanne Philipp to locate works held in Swiss libraries and various catalogues suitable for use in church services. Only 12 hymns in the Kirchengesangbuch (German-speaking Protestant hymnal) and 3 in the Psautier romand (French-speaking equivalent) were composed by women.
The result is impressive: a representative selection of more than 700 works have been included in the Catalogue. The target audience (organists, church choirmasters, and anyone else with an interest) will find music from all eras and styles, for organ, choir in unison or in parts, with or without organ accompaniment, and some pieces with a small instrumental ensemble. Of particular interest are the mostly unpublished works by sisters in Swiss convents.
All the entries give the location of the pieces in a library and/or their commercial availability. To simplify searching, the printed Catalogue is supplemented with a diskette in Excel.
Susanne Philipp / Irène Minder-Jeanneret / eds, Musik von Komponistinnen für den Gottesdienst. FrauenMusikForum Schweiz FMF, Bern 2001. 25 pages, CHF 18.00.
Schweizer Komponistinnen der Gegenwart / ed. FrauenMusikForum Schweiz FMF, Bern 2001. Edition Hug 11338, Zurich 1985.
Irène Minder-Jeanneret. Femmes musiciennes en Suisse romande / Edition Cabédita, Yens 1995.
Catalogues of works by women composers in the libraries of Bern, Lausanne, Geneva and Lucerne. Ed. FrauenMusikForum Schweiz FMF, Bern 2001.
Guidelines for students and teachers to combat sexual harassment in music teaching. (The project was supported by the Federal Office for Gender Equality; printing grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation.) Brochure, woman and music initiatives, perspectives and networks.
(Texts in German, French, English; abstracts in all three languages.) Talks by Patricia Schulz (EBG, CH), Beatrix Borchard (D), Odile Bourin (F), Freia Hoffmann (D), Verena Naegele (CH), Elena Ostleitner (A), Eva Rieger (D/FL), Angela Willes (GB). 28 pages.
Recordings of works by women composers, and performed by famous Swiss women musicians. Interviews with composers and performers, from c. 1950 to the present. Produced in collaboration with the Haute École de Gestion Geneva, Dept. of Information and Documentation. 220 pp. CHF 24.00.