April 3, Birthday of Elisabetta Brusa (b.1954)

Elisabetta BrusaIs an Italian composer, who as a child wrote over 30 pieces for piano before entering the Music Conservatory in Milan. Starting in her twenties, she travelled to London where she was tutored by Peter Maxwell Davies for many years. She received a Fulbright and taught at Tanglewood, where she also studied under Hans Werner Henze. This is how Wikipedia describes her work. If someone can explain it to us, I’d be very grateful: Neo-Tonality and in particular to Neo-Romanticism, but in the original sense of the word, which is nowadays often confusedly assimilated to other ones,” and her harmony as “essentially pandiatonic with panchromatic moments.” A to Z Challenge
“Belsize” String Quartet, Op.1
Sonata per pianoforte, Op. 6
Simply Largo, for String Orchestra
Marche Funèbre, per Pianoforte (2001)

April 1, Birthday of Alberta Hunter (1895-1984)

Alberta Hunter was born in Memphis, Tennessee to a maid who worked in a bordello. There she began her career singing in men’s club. When her mother married in 1906, she decamped and moved to Chicago, where she heard she could make it as a singer. She didn’t at first, but then started gigging in bordellos, became well known, and eventually performed with King Oliver. In the 20s and 30s, her career flourished both as a singer and a songwriter. Hunter was married once, shortly, divorced, and in 1927 sailed to Europe with her partner, Lottie Taylor, with whom she lived until Taylor died. In 1957, Hunter’s mother died, which she said took the fun out of performing, so she claimed she was younger, forged a high school diploma, and entered nursing school. She remained a nurse until 1977, though she did start recording in 1971. A to Z Challenge
Downhearted Blues (1939)
Downhearted Blues (1977)
Fats Waller & Alberta Hunter Beale Street Blues (1927)
Someday Sweetheart

March 25, Bonnie Guitar (b. 1923)

Sorry for not posting for a while. I’ve been to seven countries since January 1 to deliver anti-harassment training. Back home now.

Since July 2016, 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 may not post.  On with today’s composer.

Bonnie Buckingham started performing guitar at the age of 16 and was given the name “Bonnie Guitar.”  She is one of the first female country western singers to have a cross-over pop song, “Dark Moon.”    Here’s the Wikipedia entry for her. After moving to LA with her husband (and guitar teacher) Paul Tutmarc, she became a successful session musician, eventually backing such acts as Jim Reeves and Ned Miller. Miller wrote the music to “Dark Moon” and she offered to record it giving up her royalties to the song for the opportunity to do so. The song became a hit. She followed up with a number of others which did not rise as high and she eventually formed her own record label and produced such acts as “The Ventures.”

Mr. Fire Eyes (1957)
Dark Moon (1957)
I really don’t Want to Know
Performing at the age of 90

March 19, Birthday of Elizabeth Maconchy (1907-1994)

Whenever I come across another female composer whose career is unknown to me, my heart skips a beat. How is it that I’ve never encountered her music before. There aren’t that many online resources that list female composers by their birthdate. Usually I go to Wikipedia and search for composers on a given day. When that doesn’t work, I next search through a Google book called Women Opera Composers: Biographies from the 1500s to the 21st Century. Though I can’t read the whole book without purchasing it, I can search for the date I wish, and it often turns up a name.

March 19 gave me Elizabeth Maconchy, born in Hertfordshire, England. She started composing music from the age of six and entered the Royal Conservatory of music at age sixteen. There she studied under Ralph Vaughn Williams. According to her online bio, she preferred “middle European” modernist composers like Bartok and Janacek. So she completed her studies in Prague. According to the scant entry in Wikipedia, she’s best known for her string quartets, but youtube has quite a few other works by her. Enjoy.

Nocturne (1950/1951)
Quartet No. 11
Symphony for Double String Orchestra, First Movement: Allegro Molto
wo Dances from the ballet “Puck Fair” (1940)

March 16, Birthday of Fannie Charles Dillon (1881-1947)

Since July 2016, 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 may not post.  On with today’s composer.

Fannie Charles Dillon was a composer and piano teacher who incorporated the sounds of birds into her works.  She taught in the Los Angeles school system and one of her high school students was the future composer, John Cage.Here’s the Wikipedia entry for her. I only could find one recording by her, but there are two versions. I do like the old scratchy version.

Birds at Dawn (old Victrola Recording)
Birds at Dawn (played on the Ampico Lexington Player Piano)

March 11, Birthday of Mary Gauthier (b. 1962)

Since July 2016, 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 may not post.  On with today’s composer.

Mary Gauthier was born in New Orleans, where she was given over for adoption.  She was raised by an Italian family in Thibidaux, LA. She struggled with alcohol and drug abuse for years, then went to college and almost got a BA in philosophy.  She dropped out in her senior year and moved to Boston where she studied at a culinary school, after which she opened a restaurant called Dixie Kitchen.  She ran that for 11 years and began playing and writing music.  I know it’s not classical, but her songs, inspired by events in her troubled past, and her voice are quite powerful. Here’s her wikipedia entry.

Mercy Now
I Drink
Drag Queens in Limousines
Last of the Hobo Kings

March 10, Birthday of Florence Aylward (1862-1950)

Sorry for not posting for a while. I’ve been to seven countries since January 1 to deliver anti-harassment training. Back home now.

Since July 2016, 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 may not post.  On with today’s composer.

Florence Aylward started composing music for ballads at an early age and she started to become known at the ripe old age of 12.  Here’s the Wikipedia entry for her.

Beloved, It Is Morn
The Window
Aspiration
Couldn’t find anything else by her

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