052. Women Composers: Negotiating a Place

C. Macdonald (Musicology)
Full Course -- 4 Credits
Fall Semester FYSP 052-01 TR 1:30-2:45

During this course we will consider the lives and works of well-known composers of the nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century, including Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Amy Beach, Alma Mahler, Ethel Smyth, Lili Boulanger and Ruth Crawford Seeger.  All ventured into a profession dominated by men, where women were deemed incapable of major achievement and discouraged from pursuing independent careers.  We will be particularly interested in how each resisted traditional roles for women of her time so as to forward her career, while at the same time expending effort (or not!) to project herself as filling those very roles.  For each, the story will be different.  Further, we will look at innovative composers from mid-twentieth century up to our own time, for example, Pauline Oliveros, Meredith Monk, Kaija Saariaho, Jin Hi Kim, Olga Neuwirth, Julia Wolfe, Chaya Czernowin.  We will consider the special innovations of each, and discover how each has integrated herself into the mainstream of art music, or created a place apart for herself, or found herself doing both.  Musical training is not required for this course.