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date: 20 September 2019

Ferrari [née Colombari de Montègre], Gabrielle [Gabriella]locked

  • Karen Henson

Extract

[Gabriella]

(b Paris, 14 Sept ?1851; d Paris, July 4, 1921). Italian-French composer and pianist. She first received musical training in Italy, studying the piano and composition at the conservatories in Milan and Naples, where her teachers included Paolo Serrao. After her marriage to Francesco Ferrari, Italian correspondent for Le Figaro, she continued her studies in Paris with Alfred Apel and Théodore Dubois. She also received encouragement from François Leborne and from Charles Gounod, after whose death she studied at the Leipzig Conservatory. Returning to Paris, she dedicated herself to composition from about 1895. She was already well known as a pianist specializing in Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn and contemporary Russian works.

Ferrari was inevitably drawn to piano and song composition: the career of her more famous colleague, Cécile Chaminade, followed a similar path, which was probably the most acceptable for a woman in later 19th-century France. However, like Augusta Holmès, Ferrari also regularly composed for larger forces; indeed, she is exceptional among female composers of her time for having written eight operas, five of which were performed in Paris. Her greatest operatic success was a reprise of her ...

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