Women in Music

Why are there so few women composers?

See A Response to the Question, "Why Are There So Few Women In Music?"

Have you ever found it difficult to be a woman composer in a field traditionally dominated by men? At first I did find it hard. This was when I was in graduate school. I had the most trouble with discrimination and stereotyping while I was in school. I think this may have been because the academy’s business is to examine issues through categorization, investigation, and speculation. In order to conduct this approach one needs specimens to study. I found that being a living woman composer in the academy often (and still does) put me in the position of the “specimen.” I say “position” instead of “role” because “role” assumes a set of stereotypic parameters, none of which I find to be true of being a composer whose body is female. Are most of your compositions for solo voice for women? I think that when you study my list of works, you will find that a small percentage of my body of work is solo compositions for female voice. Of that small percentage, many of my solo vocal art songs are composed for female voice because I am pursuing the idea that an art songs recital can be an opportunity for dramatic presentation as well as an opportunity for technical recitation. Tying a song cycle to a characterization is a helpful way of exploring this notion. Do you consider yourself a feminist? If thirty years of consistently working in public, on a national and international scale, and speaking my professional mind out loud in public combined with raising a family can be considered feminism, then yes, I consider myself a feminist.