August 20, birthday of Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Duchess Elisabeth Sophie of Mecklenburg (1613 – 1676) was a German composer an poet. She is probably the first female composer whose work was published. She wrote mostly hymns and collaborated with the composer Heinrich Schütz.

Once again, I can’t find any recordings of her works.  Do any of you, dear readers, have any leads?

 

August 15, birthday of Marion Eugénie Bauer

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Marion Eugénie Bauer (1882 – 1955) has the distinction of being the first American composer to study with Nadia Boulanger.  She was born to French-Jewish immigrants, who were also musical.  The story is that as a baby, she was placed atop the piano in a basket while her older sister Emilie practiced and gave music lessons.

She travelled to Paris and Berlin for a number of extended periods to study music.  As she was fluent in both French and English she gave language lessons to her teachers and their children.

Back in the State, she was offered a position teaching at New York University.   There she championed other 20th century composers by having her student perform her work or by writing about them.  Her music is more impressionistic than atonal.  That may be due to pressure from her publisher to tone it down or because one of her compositions was removed from first place in a competition for being too modernistic.  Bauer founded the American Music Guild, the American Music Center, and the American Composer’s Alliance, and served on their (and other music organization) boards, often as the only female.  She composed over 160 pieces in her life, and counted among her pupils the composers,Ruth Crawford Seeger and Milton Babbitt.

Four Piano Pieces

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