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"Women are not Born to Compose": Female musical Works From 1750 to 1950

Date of the symposium:
27-30 novembre 2020


Colloque en ligne organisé du 27 au 30 novembre 2020 par le Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini et le Palazzetto Bru Zane.

L’intérêt grandissant des chercheurs pour le parcours et les œuvres des compositrices nécessite que l’on prenne le temps d’interroger la cohérence du corpus constitué par les productions féminines. Ce sont les contraintes qui pèsent sur elles qui occuperont en premier lieu les débats de ce colloque : depuis les interdictions de certaines pratiques jusqu’aux préjugés sur leurs capacités, comment les conventions sociales et les postulats misogynes façonnent des carrières ? Et quelles sont les stratégies trouvées pour les contourner ?

Comité scientifique : Roberto Illiano, Étienne Jardin, Fulvia Morabito, Massimiliano Sala, Mariateresa Storino, Susan Wollenberg 

Publication liée
Women Composers in New Perspectives, 1800-1950: Genres, Contexts and Repertoire, sous la direction de Mariateresa Storino et Susan Wollenberg, Turnhout : Brepols, 2023.



Susan Wollenberg – (Why) Do We Need ‘Women Composers’?

Mariateresa Storino – «She Is not a Woman Composer – Yet a Composer and also a Woman»: Female Creativity beyond Genders and Genres

Composers, Musicians, Virtuosos

Daniel Lienhard – Chamber Music and Concertos for Horn/Horns by Female Composers. A Survey

Monika Kolenda – Polish Composers and Pianists: Nadia Boulanger’s Legacy

Maria Stratigou – Louise Farrenc’s Piano Études: Dates, Purpose, Reception and Role

Reflections on Women Composers’ Position in the History of Music

Joe Davies – Clara Schumann as Composer: Reflections, Challenges, and New Directions

Siegwart Reichwald – Mendelssohn the Progressive: Narrative Strategies in Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s Piano Trio Op. 11 and Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quartet Op. 80

Christine Fischer – A Swiss Woman in Italy: Fanny Hünerwadel on her Study Trip

Florence Launay – «She Is the First, She Is the only One of her Sex Who Has Vanquished the Operatic Stage»: the career of Sophie Gail (1775-1819) at the Théâtre de l’Opéra-Comique, 1813-1818

Amy E. Zigler – «Perhaps what Men Call a Sin…»: An Examination of Ethel Smyth’s «The Prison»

Music Criticism and Politics

Fiorella Sassanelli – Playing Death and War to Resonate Peace and Hope: The Engagement in Music of Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)

Elsa Calero-Carramolino – «You Lack Men’s Creativity»: Music and Women’s Protest in Franco’s Prisons (1938-1948)

Barbora Vacková – «You just Write at Night»: Careers, Lives and Professional Experience of Czechoslovak Women Composers after the 1948 Communist Coup

Female Composers in the Twentieth Century

Orla Shannon – Gentle Miss Ina Boyle’ (1889-1967) and Gender (Mis)Representation in Ireland’s Canon of Twentieth-century Art Song

Peter Asimov – Yvonne Loriod, Avant-gardist

Rhiannon MathIas – Grace Williams and Welsh Music: Triads, Orchestral Music and New Beginnings

Elisabeth Kappel – The Compositional Oeuvre of Two Viennese ‘Higher Daughters’: Else Réthi and Vilma Webenau (ca. 1900-1950)

Angela Annese – Andrée Rochat, a Female Composer between Italy and Switzerland through the Twentieth Century

Samantha Ege – «It Takes Courage to Be Cheerful these Days»: Theodora Sturkow Ryder’s Depression-era Chicago, 1928-1931

Lisbeth Ahlgren Jensen – Two Danish Women Composers in the early 20th Century: Hilda Sehested and Nancy Dalberg

Gender, Identity, Emancipation

Orietta Caianiello – The Emancipation of Female Musical Writing in Post-Victorian England from Song-cycles to Phantasies: The Society of Women Musicians

Stéphan Etcharry – Germaine Tailleferre face au quatuor à cordes : un manifeste d’émancipation féminine ?

Laura K. T. Stokes – Fanny Hensel’s Lied ‘Der Fürst vom Berge’ in Light of Contemporary European Politics

Martina Bratić – Heritage without Tradition: Or on the Gist of Croatian Feminist Musicology

Ozgecan Karadagli – Women Musicians of the Ottoman Imperial Harem

Religious Music

Cecilia Delama – «Gioventù femminile di Azione Cattolica» and Sacred Music in Italy in early 20th Century

Hannah Millington – Renunciation and Redemption: Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D

Women Composers in Spain

Lidia Izquierdo Torrontera – Blanca Llisó y Martínez: A Woman Composer in the Second Half of the 19th Century

Helena Martínez Díaz – Training Silenced Composers: The Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País and the Conservatory of Granada (1892-1936)

Gender, Genre and Places

Bertrand Porot – Les compositrices d’airs et de cantates en France au XVIIIe siècle

Susanna Välimäki et Nuppu Koivisto – Art Songs by Finnish Women Composers, from the 1840s to the 1940s. A Historical, Feminist and Activist Research Project and Critical Edition

Natasha Holt Farny – Worthy of the Canon? Three Romantic Sonatas by Women for Cello and Piano

Ann Grindley – Sites of Empowerment: «Fin-de-siècle» Salon Culture and the Music of Cécile Chaminade

Anja Bunzel – Countess Eliška Šliková (1790-1855): Salonnière, Patroness, Composer

Małgorzata Kubala – Pauline Viardot-García: Virtuoso and Composer. Transcriptions of Mazurkas by Fryderyk Chopin and Chosen Original Compositions as the Exemplification of Creativity and Development of 19th-century Belcanto Style


Steven Young – «Les Organistes oubliées»: Forgotten Female Organists-Composers of France

Gero Pitlok – «La plus grande de toutes les organistes»: How Women Shaped the Worldwide Organ Culture

Zane Prēdele – The Pioneer Marija Gubene — The First Latvian Female Composer, Publicist and Organist

Music Education, Training, Pedagogy

Fauve Bougard – Women and Composition Training in the 19th Century: The Case of the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles

Jan Dewilde – From the Conservatoire Classes for Girls (1867) to the ‘Palais des travaux féminins’ (1913): Reservations for Women Composers in Flanders?


Related persons

Conductor, Composer, Organist, Pianist


(1887 - 1979)

Composer, Pianist


(1804 - 1875)


Sophie GAIL

(1775 - 1819)



(1893 - 1918)



(1892 - 1983)

Composer, Pianist


(1857 - 1944)

Composer, Pianist, Mezzo-soprano


(1821 - 1910)