Early Works By Female Composers

Early music by women composers can now be found coming out of the archives on the internet. Because of gender issues into the 21st century, the absence of female compositions from most studies of music has been a painstaking task to rectify. Finding and cataloging each composer's works has come about slowly, much like the acceptance of women in the music field. Historians have researched male counterparts and stumbled upon amazing facts and compositions by women who composed and performed as aptly as the men in their generations, yet no credit was ever given to them.

Oxford Music Online - has a women's timeline citing contributions by women from 810 A.D. through 2000. The information on each woman and event includes a link for further reading.

Diane Ambache - is a female orchestra conductor who has built her website in tribute to early women composers of the past 250 years. She cites the many prejudices precluding women's contributions to the mainstream listings and documents their biographies and compositions.

Catherine Hayes - was a 19th century opera performer whose performance before Queen Victoria was noted in the Queen's diary as outstanding. She travelled about the world and thrilled audiences, yet the place in music history she deserved has only come about since the biography written by Basil Walsh was published in 2000.

Leonarda - The Lost Tradition Found is the title page of this site on the music of women from 12th century to date. Offerings include books, sheet music, and recordings of classical, medieval, and contemporary styles. The term contemporary is debatable, as orchestrations abound, but none which include acoustic guitar and other modern instrumentation prevalent today.

Kapralova - is a database of over 6,000 women composers. The list is alphabetical and includes their dates and country of birth. If existent, links to individual websites are given. A list of recordings is included.

Women Composers in Poland - from the research in this article it appears that women began to be taught music by men in the 17th and 18th centuries. Although it was considered for entertainments purposes only, and a necessity for matrimonial and social prospects, several of these went on to become published composers.

Early Women Masters - is an extensive listing of composers and midi files of their compositions.

The International Alliance for Women - is a member organization which champions both the history and ongoing contributions women have made in music.

University of Oregon - has a library discography section on women composers and musicians. There is an additional link at the bottom on resources for finding information and a catalog of music owned by the university.

Vanderbilt University - has an extensive listing with links to many resources on the internet on the various genres of music and early women composers and performers.

While the 21st century encourages equality between the sexes in the workplace and society as a whole, the gender prejudices which abounded in past world history may not actually be gone. Try to think of one electric guitar heroine. Males names come to mind: Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presley, and Eddie Van Halen. We can only hope that this continuing "No girls allowed" attitude may, in part, be the impetus which drives us to continue unearthing the legacies left to us by women in music.