December 19, birthday of Aziza Mustafa Zadeh (b. 1969)

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.

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh is an Azerbaijani musician being a singer, composer, and improviser. She fuses a traditional Azerbaijani improvisational singing form, mugham, with classical, jazz and avant-garde styles as well. Click here for a brief UNESCO description of Mugham. Both her parents were musicians, and her dad Vagif is noted as the first person to realize the similarity of Mugham and jazz quality. So he was kind of the Chick Corea of Azerbaijan. He died in 1979 and Aziza’s mother gave up her own career in order to foster her daughter’s.

 

Mozarts Jazz Ballade

Holiday Blessings

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December 18, Augusta Holmès (1847-1903)

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  On with today’s composer.
Augusta Holmès was born in Paris of Irish descent. He showed great musical talent at a young age but because she was a woman was not allowed to study at the Paris Conservatoire. She took private lessons, eventually studying with César Franck. Listening to these works, can you say she’s not qualified to be in the Pantheon of composers?

La Nuit et l’amour (1888)

Andromède, symphonic poem (1883)

December 14, birthday of Maria Szymanowska

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.

Maria Szymanowska, another female composer forgotten when eclipsed by males. Here’s the wikipedia entry for Maria Szymanowska. According to the biography, she was the first professional pianist of the 19th century. She predated Chopin and Liszt, whom she influenced. Born in Warsaw she eventually settled in St. Petersburg where she had a salon visited by the likes of Luigi Cherubini, Gioacchino Rossini, Johann Hummel, John Field; Pierre Baillot, Giuditta Pasta; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Adam Mickiewicz.

 

Nocturne in B Flat

Etude Number 9

December 13, birthday of Narcisa Freixas (1859 – 1926)

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.

Narcisa Freixas was born in Barcelona, became a sculptor, but then switched to music and became a pianist.  She also started a music school.  Here’s the wikipedia entry which doesn’t have much more than that.

 

La Nina Maca

cançons d’ifants

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

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