Age Range: Elementary, Middle School
Learning Objective: Students will listen to and learn about five notable women composers who have contributed to classical music over the past 100+ years.
This lesson features five women composers. Listening to and learning about their music is a small way to start investigating notable women composers.
1. Jessie Montgomery
Jessie Montgomery is a composer, violinist, and teacher. She is a native New Yorker. Jessie Montgomery explains that writing music is her "connection to the world." Listen to her string quartet, Strum, below.
LISTEN: Jessie Montgomery Strum
Learn more: Jessie Montgomery's music and musical influences are featured in the YourClassical Music Lesson: A Trip to the Record Store.
2. Angélica Negrón
Angélica Negrón was born in Puerto Rico. She uses a lot of electronics and nontraditional instruments in her music. She has even hooked up vegetables to musical software to make music, as you can see in this video.
Listen to Pescadores, which was composed as a part of a movie soundtrack.
LISTEN: Angélica Negrón Pescadores
Learn more: Some of Angélica Negrón's music is featured in the YourClassical Music Lesson: So Many Sound Sources.
3. Ruth Crawford Seeger
American composer Ruth Crawford Seeger lived between the years 1901-1953. Early in her career, she focused on music composition. Later in life, she spent a lot of time arranging and preserving American folk songs.
Listen to her Piano Study in Mixed Accents, below.
LISTEN Ruth Crawford Seeger Piano Study in Mixed Accents
Learn more: A piece of music by Ruth Crawford Seeger is featured in the YourClassical Music Lesson: Roses are Red, Violets are Blue.
4. Germaine Tailleferre
French composer Germaine Tailleferre lived between the years 1892-1983. She became a member of a thriving artistic community that flourished in Paris during the 1920s and was the only female member of a group of composers called "Les Six" (pronounced lay seese), which simply means "The Six" in French. I bet you can guess how many composers were in the group!
Listen to Germaine Tailleferre's Berceuse for Violin and Piano.
LISTEN Germaine Tailleferre Berceuse
Learn more: Germaine Tailleferre's music is featured in the YourClassical Music Lesson: Color in Music.
5. Caroline Shaw
Caroline Shaw is a composer and performer who likes to collaborate with musicians of all kinds, including indie rock bands and rappers.
Listen to a part of her composition Plan and Elevation.
LISTEN: Caroline Shaw Plan & Elevation V. The Beech Tree
Learn more: The piece you just listened to is included in the YourClassical Music Lesson: Nature Walk.
6. Want more? Check out 10 contemporary women composers to add to your music rotation. During the month of March, check out the Women's History Stream on yourclassical.org.
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Kroehm Duo is a duo, which means two players. “Kroehm” is a mash-up of the players’ last names – Jenny Klukken and Steve Roehm. Learn about mallet instruments and listen to original music by this Class Notes group!
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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.