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Timelines in music history: Women in music

810

Birth of Kassia, composer of Byzantine chant. Read more...

1098

Birth of Hildegard of Bingen (d1179), German Benedictine abbess, visionary, writer and composer. Read more...

1122

Eleanor of Aquitaine, important patron of troubadours, is born. Read more...

c12th century

Lifetime of Beatriz, countess of Dia (b late 12th century), composer of A chantar m'er de so qu'eu no volria, the only surviving melody known to be by a woman troubadour. Read more...

1490

The 16-year-old Isabella d'Este arrives at the court of Mantua as bride of Francesco II. Under her patronage, the Gonzaga court saw its most glorious artistic period. Read more...

1533

Birth of the future Elizabeth I of England. An accomplished musician herself, Elizabeth was among history's most important patrons of music. Read more...

1557

The publication record for female composers begins, with an organ setting of the hymn Conditor alme by the Spanish nun Gracia Baptista in Luis Venegas de Henestrosa's Libro de cifra nueva para tecla, harpa, y vihuela. Read more...

1568

Maddalena Casulana publishes her first book of madrigals, the first music publication devoted to the works of a woman. Her aim, as she states in the dedication, is ' to show to the world the foolish error of men who so greatly believe themselves to be the masters of high intellectual gifts that [these gifts] cannot, it seems to them, be equally common among women'. Read more...

1580

Foundation of Ferrara's famous 'Concerto delle donne' led by Laura Peverara, an ensemble of virtuosic singers that became a model for similar groups elsewhere and influenced the style of the Italian madrigal in the last 20 years of the sixteenth century. Read more...

c1580

Probable birthdate of the singer and composer Adriana Basile. Read more...

1593

Vittoria Aleotti publishes her Ghirlanda de madrigali. Although probably student works, these four-voice madrigals show a command of an impressive variety of sixteenth-century styles. Read more...

7 March 1608

Just 18 years old, the already-famous singer Caterina Martinelli dies while preparing to sing the title role in Monteverdi's opera Arianna. Monteverdi, with whose family the young singer had lodged for three years, writes the beautiful Lagrime d'amante al sepolcro dell'amata in her memory. Read more...

1609

Benedictine nun Caterina Assandra publishes her Motetti, op.2. Read more...

1611

Lucia Quinciani becomes the first woman to publish a monody, setting a text from Guarini's famous pastoral drama Il pastor fido. Read more...

1618

Francesca Caccini publishes her Primo libro delle musiche, a book of monodies. Read more...

1619

Birth of the composer and singer, Barbara Strozzi. Read more...

3 Feb 1625

Francesca Caccini's opera La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina is performed in Florence. It is the first opera composed by a woman. Read more...

1629

Francesca Campana publishes her Arie for 1-3 voices. Read more...

1630

Claudia Rusca, a Milanese nun, publishes a collection of Sacri concerti. Read more...

1640

Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, an Benedictine nun in Milan, publishes her Primavera di fiori musicali. Read more...

1644

Barbara Strozzi publishes her first book of solo madrigals. Read more...

1655

Sophie Elisabeth, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, studies composition with Heirich Schätz. Read more...

1655

Three songs by Lady Mary Dering are included in Henry Lawes' Select Ayres and Dialogues, which is dedicated to her. Read more...

1665

Isabella Leonarda, a nun and prolific composer, publishes her first book of motets. Read more...

1667

Sophie Elisabeth, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, publishes her second collection of hymn melodies. Read more...

1685

In Paris Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre composes music for a ballet, Les jeux à  l'honneur de la victoire. Read more...

1689

In Bologna, composer and painter Angiola Teresa Moratori Scanabecchi's oratorio, Il martirio di S Colomba is performed at the Oratorio of S Filippo Neri. Read more...

1692

Amalia Catharina, Countess of Erbach, publishes a collection of Pietist songs. Read more...

15 March 1694

Jacquet de la Guerre's opera, Cephale et Procris has its premiére at the Académie Royale de Musique in Paris. Read more...

20 March 1703

Maria de Raschenau's oratorio Le sacre visioni di Santa Teresa is performed in Vienna. Read more...

1707

Camilla de Rossi is commissioned by Joseph I to compose an oratorio, Santa Beatrice d'Este. Read more...

15 Nov 1711

Birth of Kitty Clive, star of the London stage and famous interpreter of the music of Handel. Read more...

4 Nov 1713

Pallade e Marte, a 'componimento dramatico' by Maria Margherita Grimani, is performed in Vienna for Charles VI's nameday. Read more...

Aug 1721

Jacquet de la Guerre's Te Deum is sung in Paris on the occasion of the recovery of the young Louis XV from smallpox. Read more...

18 Oct 1736

Les Génies, ou Les caractères de l'Amour, by an 18-year-old composer known today only as Mlle Duval, is performed at the Opéra in Paris. Read more...

1736

Julie Pinel publishes a collection of French airs. Read more...

1740

Wilhelmina, Princess of Prussia sees her opera Argenore performed at the court opera in Bayreuth. Read more...

1740

Elisabeth de Haulteterre publishes her Premier livre de sonates for violin and continuo. Read more...

1747

Maria Teresa Agnesi's cantata Il restauro d'Arcadia is given at the Teatro Regio in Milan. Read more...

1754

Maria Antonia Walpurgis takes a leading role in her own opera, Il trionfo della fedeltà  at Dresden. Read more...

1756

Anna Bon dedicates her op.1 flute sonatas to her employer, Frederick the Great. Read more...

6 Feb 1760

Walpurgis's opera Talestri, regini della amazoni is given at Nymphenburg and, unusually for opera of the period, is published, by Breitkopf in Leipzig. Read more...

1768

Maddalena Laura Lombardini Sirmen performs her own violin concerto at the Concert Spirituel in Paris. Read more...

1773

Marianne von Martínez is made an honorary member of the Bologna Accademia Filarmonica. Read more...

1777

Anne Louise Boyvin d'Hardancourt Brillon de Jouy, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, composes her March des insurgents to celebrate a colonies victory in the American Revolutionary War. Read more...

1782

Corona Schröter takes the lead role in Goethe's Die Fischerin, for which she composes the first setting of his poem 'Der Erlkönig' later treated to a famous setting by Schubert. Read more...

1785

Maria Hester Park publishes keyboard sonatas with violin accompaniment in London. Read more...

1791

Maria Theresia von Paradis's melodrama Ariadne und Bacchus has its première at the Schlosstheater in Laxenburg. Read more...

1801

Three sonatas for piano, by the distinguished Mozart singer Margarethe Danzi, are published posthumously in Paris. Read more...

1807

Military music by pianist Maria Brizzi Giorgi is performed for Napoleon when he passes through Bologna. Read more...

1811

Louise Reichardt publishes 12 Gesänge in Hamburg. Read more...

1812

Amalie, Princess of Saxony, composes a comic opera, Le nozze funeste. Read more...

1820

Maria Aghate Szymanowska publishes a Divertimento for violin and piano and a Sérénade for cello and piano in Leipzig. Read more...

6 Oct 1820

Birth of 'the Swedish Nightengale' Jenny Lind. Read more...

1823

Sophie Bawr writes the first published history of women in music, contributing the volume on the Histoire de la musique to the Encyclopédie des dames, published in Paris. Read more...

1836

Première of Piano Concerto by Clara Wieck (later Schumann) at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, with the 16-year-old composer as the soloist. Read more...

1838

Louise Farrenc composes her Piano Quintet in A minor, op.30. Read more...

1842

Emilie Zumsteeg publishes six lieder, op.6. Read more...

1846

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel composes her Piano Trio op.11. Read more...

1849

Felicita Casella's Portuguese opera Haydée is given in Oporto. Read more...

17 Jan 1855

Ann Mounsey's oratorio The Nativity is performed at St Martin's Hall, London. Read more...

1859

Marie Grandval's operetta Le sou de Lise is performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens. It is published under a pseudonym 'Caroline Blangy'. Read more...

1865

Casella's opera Cristoforo Colombo is given at the Théâtre Impérial, Nice. Read more...

1867

Liliuokalani, later Queen of Hawaii, publishes He mele lahui Hawaii, used until 1876 as the Hawaiian national anthem. Read more...

1874

Soledad Bengoecha de Cármena's zarzuelas Flor de los cielos and El gran día are given at the Teatro Jovellanos, Madrid. Read more...

1879

Maude Valérie White is the first woman to win the Mendelssohn Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Read more...

1881

Augusta Holmès' dramatic symphony Les Argonautes has its première in Paris. Read more...

1882

Cécile Chaminade's opéra comique, La Sévillaneis privately performed in Paris. Read more...

16 Sept 1887

Birth of composer and highly influential teacher of composition, Nadia Boulanger. Read more...

1887

Luise Adolpha Le Beau composes her Piano Concerto, op.37. Read more...

1890

Amy Marcy Beach composes her Mass in E flat. Read more...

1891

Ethel Smyth completes her Mass in D. Read more...

21 Aug 1893

French composer Lili Boulanger is born. Read more...

1897

Beach publishes her 'Gaelic' Symphony. Read more...

1898

Mary Wurm founds and conducts a women's orchestra in Berlin. Read more...

1899

Tekla Griebel Wandall's opera Skøn Karen is performed in Copenhagen. Read more...

1904

Pauline Viardot composes an opéra comique, Cendrillon, on the story of Cinderella. Read more...

11 Nov 1906

Ethel Smyth's opera The Wreckers has its première (in German, as Standrecht) at the Neues Theater, Leipzig. Read more...

1907

Rebecca Clarke becomes the first female pupil of Charles Villiers Stanford at the Royal College of Music. Read more...

1908

Dutch composer and conductor Elisabeth Kuyper becomes the first woman to teach theory and composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. Read more...

1910

After meeting Emmeline Pankhurst, Ethel Smyth composes her March of the Women, which becomes an anthem of the British women's suffrage movement. Read more...

1910

Alma Mahler publishes Fünf Lieder in Berlin. Read more...

1912

Ethel Smyth serves two months in Holloway Prison for her activism on behalf of women's suffrage. Read more...

1912

At a time when nearly all major symphony orchestras are exclusively male, Henry Wood admits four women, including the violist/composer Rebecca Clarke, into the New Queen's Hall Orchestra. Read more...

1913

Lili Boulanger becomes the first woman to win the Prix de Rome. Read more...

7 April 1915

Birth of the great Jazz singer Billie Holiday. Read more...

25 April 1917

American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald is born. Often considered the quintessential female jazz singer, she influenced countless American and international popular singers of the post-swing period. Read more...

1918

Music patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge founds the South Mountain Chamber Music Festival (later the Berkskhire Music Festival) an important summer festival of chamber music. Read more...

1919

Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata ties for first place with Ernst Bloch's Viola Suite in the prestigious Coolidge Competition. The tie is broken in favour of Bloch by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge herself who, however, becomes an important patron of Clarke. Read more...

1922

Ethel Smyth is made a DBE, the first female composer to be so honoured. Read more...

1924

Elisabeth Kuyper founds the American Women's Symphony Orchestra in New York City. Read more...

1927

Ruth Crawford's Violin Sonata is performed in New York at the League of Composers concert. Read more...

1928

Imogen Holst wins the Cobbett Prize for composition at the Royal College of Music in London. Read more...

1930

Elizabeth Maconchy's suite The Land is played at the London Promenade Concerts. Read more...

1933

Margaret Bonds performs Florence Price's Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony. The occasion marks two firsts for African Americans. Price is the first African American woman to have a work performed by a major symphony and Bonds is the first African American to perform as soloist with the Chicago SO. Read more...

23 Nov 1935

Ethel Leginska conducts her own opera, Gale at the Chicago City Opera. Read more...

1939

Elisabeth Lutyens writes her Chamber concerto no.1, using her own version of the 12-note method. Read more...

9 April 1939

Having been denied the use of Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, African-American singer Marian Anderson, with the support of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, gives a concert at the Lincoln Memorial, drawing an audience of some 75,000 people. Read more...

27 Aug 1942

At the age of 20, Maria Callas sings her first Tosca, a role on which she would leave an indelible mark. Read more...

30 Oct 1944

Première of Martha Graham's ballet Appalachian Spring to music by Aaron Copland. Read more...

5 June 1947

American performance artist and composer Laurie Anderson is born. She made an unexpected crossover into the popular domain with her song 'O Superman', and became one of the most influential women composers of her time. Read more...

3 April 1954

Peggy Glanville-Hicks's opera The Transposed Heads has its première (in a concert version) at the Louisville Symphony. Read more...

1957

Avril Coleridge-Taylor composes the Ceremonial March to celebrate Ghana's independence. Read more...

1961

In Tokyo, Mieko Shiomi with two colleagues forms Group-Ongaku, an experimental ensemble. Read more...

1 March 1962

Louise Talma's The Alcestiad is the first opera by an American woman to be produced at a major European opera house, at Frankfurt. Read more...

1963

Esther Ballou's Capriccio for violin and piano is given its first performance at the White House, Washington, DC. Read more...

1968

Ruth Anderson founds the electronic music studio at Hunter College, New York. Read more...

1968

Dorothy Rudd Moore helps found the Society of Black composers. Read more...

1968

Jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams' Music for Peace, later known as Mary Lou's Mass, is commissioned by the Vatican. Read more...

1969

Meredith Monk's theatre piece Juice is given at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Read more...

1973

Nicola LeFanu, daughter of composer Elizabeth Maconchy, has her work, The Hidden Landscape performed at the Proms concerts in London. Read more...

1975

Musicologist Janet Knapp becomes the first female president of the American Musicological Society. Read more...

6 Sept 1977

Thea Musgrave's opera, Mary Queen of Scots has its première at the Edinburgh Festival. Read more...

1981

Performace artist Laurie Anderson's O Superman reaches number 2 on the British pop charts. Read more...

1989

Composer Irma Ravinale is appointed Director of the Conservatorio di S Cecilia in Rome. Read more...

1995

International Alliance for Women and Music is founded. Read more...

27 Feb 1997

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra votes to accept women members of the orchestra. As of the end of 2006, the orchestra included one woman, a harpist. Read more...

9 July 2000

Following a campaign by musicologist Liane Curtis, Amy Marcy Beach's name is added to the frieze of famous composer names on the Hatch Memorial Concert Shell in Boston, Massachusetts. Beach, a native of Boston, is the only female composer on the frieze. In celebration, the Boston Pops performes Beach's Bal Masque. Read more...

22 March 2000

Jessye Norman sings the première of Judith Weir's woman.life.song at Carnegie Hall Read more...


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