There have been hundreds of women composers throughout history.
For many centuries, women composers and performers were kept from public view. Considered a novelty, women’s music might be heard at best in drawing rooms and recital parlors. The concert hall was reserved for men.
Traditional propriety held that women should confine themselves to the domestic arts. During this time, only a few works by women ever found their way into the standard repertoire; most compositions never received significant recognition. Other women composers, who received acclaim during their lifetime, have similarly fallen into obscurity, along with their musical works. This trend has finally begun to reverse in recent decades, with the rise to prominence of several women composers, as well as the rediscovery of the music of female composers of centuries ago.
Clara Schumann was a German musician and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era.
Recent interest in her work has revealed that although she performed to great acclaim in public, her concerts usually presented works by her husband Robert Schumann or her friend, Johannes Brahms.
Her own compositions remained largely unknown to the general public.
Pauline Oliveros is an American accordionist and composer who is a central figure in the development of post-war electronic art music. She was a founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the 1960s, and served as its director.
Isabella Leonarda was an Italian composer from Novara. At the age of 16, she entered the Collegio di Sant'Orsola, an Ursuline convent, where she stayed for the remainder of her life.
Rebecca Clarke was an English classical composer and violist best known for her chamber music featuring the viola.
Germaine Tailleferre was a French composer and the only female member of the group of composers known as Les Six.
Sofia Asgatovna Gubaidulina is a Russian composer. Gubaidulina's music is characterised by the use of unusual instrumental combinations. In Erwartung combines percussion, bayan and saxophone quartet.
Margaret Allison Bonds was an American composer and pianist. One of the first black composers and performers to gain recognition in the United States, she is best remembered today for her frequent collaborations with Langston Hughes.
Francesca Caccini was an Italian composer, singer, lutenist, poet, and music teacher of the early Baroque era.
Pauline Viardot [née García] was a leading nineteenth-century French mezzo-soprano, pedagogue and composer of Spanish descent.
Ruth Crawford Seeger
Ruth Crawford Seeger, born Ruth Porter Crawford, was a modernist composer and an American folk music specialist.
Marie-Juliette Olga Lili Boulanger was a French composer, the younger sister of the noted composer and composition teacher Nadia Boulanger.
Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia was Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg. She was one of ten surviving children of King Frederick William I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover.
Grażyna Bacewicz was a Polish composer and violinist. She is only the second Polish female composer to have achieved national and international recognition, the first being Maria Szymanowska in the early 19th century.
Louise Farrenc was a French composer, virtuosa pianist and teacher. Born Jeanne-Louise Dumont in Paris, she was the daughter of Jacques-Edme Dumont, a successful sculptor, and sister to Auguste Dumont.
Juliette Nadia Boulanger was a French composer, conductor, and teacher who taught many of the leading composers and musicians of the 20th century. She also performed as a pianist and organist.
Fanny Mendelssohn, later Fanny [Cäcilie] Mendelssohn Bartholdy and, after her marriage, Fanny Hensel, was a German pianist and composer, the sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn and granddaughter of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn.
Hildegard of Bingen
Saint Hildegard of Bingen, O.S.B., also known as Saint Hildegard, and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath.