Women Composers
Here you can find all information about our women composers: biographies, lists of their compositions and photos.


Maria Szymanowska
* 14.12.1789 in Warschau
† 24.07.1831 in Sankt Petersburg
Szymanowska’s childhood in Warsaw was consumed by music-making in the home. Her father, Franciszek Wołowski, a wealthy brewery owner, and her mother, Barbara Lanckorońska Wołowska, a descendant of an ancient Polish aristocratic family, were leading patrons of the arts. Together, they encouraged the young Szymanowska’s interest in music. At the age of eight she began her musical studies in piano with the well-known Warsaw pianist, Antoni Lisowski, and at 15 she pursued studies in theory and composition with the pianist and composer Tomasz Gremm. Szymanowska had ample opportunity to acquaint herself with contemporary performance and compositional styles, and she took advantage of the informal lessons these visiting artists provided to resident musicians.
By the age of twenty-one she was an active participant in public and private concerts in Warsaw and the rest of Europe. In 1810, after presenting a series of concerts in Warsaw and Paris, she married Józef Teofil Szymanowski. Within a period of two years she gave birth to three children. Ten years later, in 1820, the marriage foundered and Józef petitioned for a divorce; Szymanowska retained her maiden name and the custody of their children and resumed her professional career. The publication dates of her works indicate that they were published immediately after she composed them, and illustrate the marketability of her keyboard works as teaching pieces and solo concert works.


Six Romances and Romance à Joséphine
pian é forte. Music for piano

Augusta Holmès
* 16.12.1847 in Paris
† 28.01.1903 in Paris
Holmès Augusta Mary-Anne {Patricia} [also composed under the pseudonym Hermann Zenta] 16.12.1847-18.1.1903 Besides for operas, sinfonic and sacred music, Augusta Holmès also composed salon pieces, e.g. this "gipsy-dream" with virtuosity, arpeggios and melodic sighs within the gipsy-scale.
Bei Furore: Salonstück für das Klavier, "Zigeunertraum": virtuos, in Arpeggien und melodischen Seufzern durch die Zigeunertonleiter. fue 143 ISMN: M-50012-043-8


Le Chateau du Rêve
Rêverie Tzigane
Christmas Carols by Women Composers Vol. 4

Memorial days

Vally Weigl
* 11.09.1894 in Wien
† 25.12.1982 in New York
Vally Weigl belonged to a Jewish merchant family from Vienna. Between 1913 and 1918 she studied musicology, music teaching, psychology and philosophy in her home city and took private lessons to acquire additional musical skills in piano playing, music theory and composition. She was a pupil of Richard Robert and Karl Weigl whom she later married. Due to the persecution resulting from the Nuremberg Race Laws she fled with her family to the USA where she worked as a pianist and music teacher.
Her Old Time Burlesque composed in 1937 was originally scored for either the cello or trombone with piano. The warm tone of the viola lends the work a fascinatingly wistful timbre.


Miriam's Song (Volume 1)

Anna Amalia, Herzogin von Sachsen-Weimar
* 30.11.1738
† 30.11.1806
Anna Amalia, the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, was a formidable political figure who was also a fine composer. The fifth of thirteen children born to Karl I of Braunschweig and Philippine Charlotte, a sister of Frederick the Great, she was born on 24 October 1739 in Wolfenbüttel. She received an extensive education across the sciences and humanities, as well as in dancing, piano and composition. At one stage she had been considered as a possible wife for the Prince of Wales, later George III of England. Instead on 16 March 1756, aged sixteen, she married the eighteen-year-old Ernst August Konstantin, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. His untimely death two years later left Anna as regent, a position she fulfilled with considerable success until 1775, the year her eldest son came of age. In the process she became the most famous female ruler of the German Enlightenment.
Goethe’s arrival in Weimar in November 1775 coincided with her partial withdrawal from political life. With the accession of her son, Carl August, to power, she could dedicate herself to her private passions; theatre, music, literature, and conversation. So it was, soon after Goethe had arrived, that Anna seized the opportunity to provide a new setting of Goethes Erwin and Elmire. Goethe’s designation Schauspiel mit Gesang was altered by the composer to become an ‘Opera’ in two acts, a substantial score of some 241 pages of manuscript. The scale and style of the work suggests that the Duchess wanted to build both upon the principles of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s so-called ‘Reform’ opera, as well as the emergent Singspiel tradition. Anna Amalia drew upon models from both opera seria, opera buffa, and folk song, but the result was no mere musical potpourri. Rather – in the best tradition of the Singspiel – she created a successful dramatic whole, in which all four protagonists were characterised as much by the stylistic and generic nuances provided by the musical accompaniment as by the content and register of the words they speak. Anna Amalia spent the years from 1788 to 1790 in Rome and Naples; a highly unusual act for a widowed protestant Duchess. There she took great pleasure in art and sightseeing. Once back in Weimar she retreated into private life and died on 10 April 1807.


Annäherung X
Aria. Arias from Opera and Oratorio
Erwin und Elmire
Erwin und Elmire
Erwin und Elmire (1776) (Vocal Score)
Inspired by Goethe. Songs by women composers of the 18.th and 19.th Centuries