July 30, birthday of Alexina Diane Louie (b. 1949)

Alexina Diane Louie, OC OOntFRSC (born July 30, 1949) is a Canadian composer. She is of Chinese descent who has written many pieces for orchestra, as well as pieces for solo piano.

“O Moon”

I Leap Through The Sky With Stars

Warrior

Music for Piano

July 29, birthday of Sophie Menter (1846 — 1918)

From wikipedia: Sophie Menter (29 July 1846 — 23 February 1918) was a German pianist and composer who became the favorite female student of Franz Liszt.[1] She was called l’incarnation de Liszt in Paris because of her robust, electrifying playing style[1] and was considered one of the greatest piano virtuosos of her time.[2] She died at Stockdorf, near Munich.

Etude in A flat op. 9

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December 11, birthday of Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (1926 – 1984)

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.

Big Mama Thornton, was a self-taught singer and musician, who was a trendsetter in many ways. She had a powerful unique voice and could hold her own against the likes of Screaming Jay Hawkins and Howling Wolf. She was also an openly gay cross-dresser, something which is still vilified in the US some 60 years after her debut in the 1950s. She recorded “You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog,” and “Ball and Chain” years before Elvis Presley and Janis Joplin scored hits with these songs, and they cited her as influences on their style.

The biographies online are interesting reads–Wikipedia, for example–and describe her as the “Second Bessie Smith” and discuss her rather racy lyrics.

Ball and Chain

They Call Me Big Mama

Watermelon Man

The Fish

December 3, Mathilde Aloisia Kralik von Meyrswalden

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.

Mathilde Aloisia Kralik von Meyrswalden (3 December 1857, in Linz – 8 March 1944) was an Austrian composer.

“Praeludium, Passacaglia and Fugato”/strong>

Sonate für Klavier und Violine

Rhapsody f-minor

TRIO F-Major

November 12, birthday of Dika Newlin (1923-2006)

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.

Talk about a cross-over artist!  Dika Newlin started college at MSU at the age of 12, (she’d been playing piano since the well before the age of 6 and composing since the age of 7), moved to LA to study with Arnold Schoenberg at the age of 16, (who dissed her chamber compositions), got her phd from Columba, after which she became a noted Schoenberg scholar and taught at Syracuse, Drew, North Texas, and Virginia Commonwealth, where in the 1980s she became a punk rocker!  She also translated Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunnaire into English and performed it in 1999.

This is from Wikipedia:  “Dika Newlin (November 22, 1923 – July 22, 2006) was a pianist, professor, musicologist, composer and punk rock singer. She received a Ph.D from Columbia University at the age of 22. She was one of the last living students of Arnold Schoenberg, a Schoenberg scholar and a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond from 1978 to 2004. She performed as an Elvis impersonator and played punk rock while in her seventies in Richmond, Virginia.”

Piano Trio, Opus 2

Performing Mac the Knife

Murder City

Heartbreak Hotel

November 20, birthday of Meredith Monk (b. 1942)

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.

Meredith Monk is a singer, director, performance artist and composer. She formed an ensemble in the 1960s as her contemporaries Phillip Glass and Steven Reich. Please take a look at “Ascension” which was composed and performed in Ann Hamilton’s Tower, an installation at Oliver Ranch (sculpture park) 70 miles north of San Francisco. It has two helix stair cases. One is for performers and the other is for the audience. As you can hear, the acoustics must make it a really special place and perfect for Monk’s work. Here’s a description of the tower.

Dolmen Music

16 millimeter earrings

Song of Ascension

November 14, birthday of Rosalind Frances Ellicott (1857 – 1924)

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.

Rosalind Frances Ellicott (November 14, 1857 – April 5, 1924) was an English composer, considered one of the leading female composers of her generation. And yet this is the only piece of hers I can find on Youtube.

Seven Sisters

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