Saturday, 4 October 2008

Feisty women musicians, composers

The autumn issue of The Maud Powell Signature, Women in Music is now available on line free at

This issue features women who have been “Lost and Found” or who simply are not as well-known as they should be. David J. Brown recounts his experience of finding the music of English composer Lilian Elkington in a used bookshop in Worthing, England, shares what he was able to learn about her life and tells how his efforts led to a recording of her only surviving orchestral work. Ian Graham-Jones provides a rich portrait of composer Alice Mary Smith whose successful career was cut short by her early death and takes us on his journey of discovery that led him to a leaking garden shed.

In Europe, Annemarie Vogt introduces readers to Berta Geissmar, friend of Furtwangler and Beecham and administrator of that male bastion, the Berlin Philharmonic, while Susan Pickett, writing from Washington State, chronicles the career of Swedish composer and organist Elfrida Andree, a bold woman who dared to defy convention.

On the North American side of the Atlantic, Elizabeth Juliana Knighton recounts the pioneering career of American conductor Mary Davenport Engberg while Anya Lawrence introduces readers to the Canadian-born composer Gena Branscombe. The Children’s Corner features American violinist Rachel Barton Pine whose work in music includes bringing obscure composers back into public awareness and a strong commitment to education. Welsh composer Grace Williams, English conductor Gwynne Kimpton, pianist-composer Teresa Carreno and violinist Maud Powell also play roles in this issue. Columnist Diana Ambache reflects on attitudes towards women composers and her own response to their music while Pamela Blevins tours her own bookshelves for books about women in music.

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