Komponistinnen Women Composers of the Romantic Period

Main Article Content

Maya Gulani
Svea Braeunert


By Maya Guliani, German Studies and Political Science and International Affairs

Advisor: Svea Braeunert

Award: Excellence in Research Communication

Presentation ID: 306

Abstract: The website Komponistinnen approaches the Romantic Period in music through a different lens: that of the woman composer. It is the result of an independent research project in German Studies, honing in on the European musical tradition of the 19th century and its gendered realms of possibility. This is accomplished through three perspectives. First, I present the story of the Romantic Period in music differently: where, for example, Frédéric Chopin or Johannes Brahms are usually cited as examples of romantic composing, I instead cite works by composers such as Amy Beach, Cécile Chaminade, or Clara Schumann. Second, I discuss the experiences of women composers during the Romantic. Connections through family and friends, the importance of salons, difficulties in having symphonic works performed, etc. are examples of factors that I explore in detail, as they demonstrate what circumstances enabled women to compose as well as what barriers were in place that prevented them from composing. Third, I provide space to focus on the music itself. Ultimately, my project is about composers - it is vital for their compositions to be shared and appreciated. Thus, I create 'sonic spotlights' to make audible the extensive creative skill of composers. By emphasizing the creative output and experiences of women in the 19th century, my project provides a new perspective of musical romanticism, not only highlighting the participation of women in the cultural sphere but also analyzing their compositions as key contributions to musical history.

Article Details

Category: Community & Cultural Connections