DEBORAH HAYES

CLASSIC WOMEN MUSICIANS

European and American Women 

Composers of the Late Eighteenth

and Early Nineteenth Centuries

Data


My alphabetical list of composers is taken from Barbara Garvey Jackson’s 1994 book ‘Say Can You Deny Me’: A Guide to Surviving Music by Women from the 16th through the 18th Centuries. My chronological and geographical lists are derived from that main list.


Jackson built upon the considerable work, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, in identifying historical women musicians. Besides verifying and correcting existing information, she added a wealth of new material. ‘Say Can You Deny Me’ remains indispensable for its extraordinary depth and scholarship.


Jackson identifies about 635 women and provides the locations of their surviving works. She also lists 152 composers whose music has not survived. Of the total of 787 women she names, around 550, or 70 percent, were active in the Classic era.


Alphabetical List

The alphabetical list (PDF, 39 p.) duplicates as little information as possible from Jackson’s book—names, dates, locations, and only a few principal sources, a tiny fraction of Jackson’s rich array. For almost all of the composers, my source is Jackson’s book, abbreviated BGJ. Other abbreviations are listed in the Sources and abbreviations PDF (2 p.).





Information that has surfaced since the book’s publication over twenty years ago is highlighted in blue. It is not guaranteed to include every-thing but it will at least indicate where to look for more.


Appendix 5 of ‘Say Can You Deny Me’ lists new editions, and many more have appeared in the twenty-some years since the book’s publication. I use the abbreviation EDN to indicate that the woman’s work is available in a new edition. ClarNan Editions (CN) and the multi volume Women Composers: Music Through the Ages (WCMTA) are notable for their extensive commentary on the composer and her music. Other leading publishers include Editions Ars Femina (EAF) Hildegard Publications (HIL), and Vivace Press (VIV). 


Also new are the many digital sources. Updated information is available at Grove Music Online (GMO), RISM online, Wikipedia (WIKI, not always reliable), and search engines like Google. Primary sources are becoming easily available as librarians upload SCANS of original scores and writings, published or manuscript (MS), to the International Music Score Library Project (imslp.org) and other sites. Works of 36 Classic women are among the many scans available. If a scan is available I name the work. Click on New Editions, WCMTA Contents, and Sources and Abbreviations (above right) to see the lists.


Chronological List

The chronological  list (PDF, 14 p.) is organized by decade according to composers’ birth years, whether known or estimated, from the 1720s through the 1790s.


Birth and death years are known for only 155 composers in the list. For the majority of these Classic-era composers, publication dates alone are known; birth year is estimated as twenty to thirty years before earliest publication—unless, as for a young prodigy, the title page states her age (13, 15).  


For 28 composers Jackson writes “no date” (n.d.), “before 1800,” or “18th century.” That a composer worked in the later, Classic 18th century (rather than the earlier, Baroque 18th century) can be surmised if, for example, she wrote for fortepiano. These are the figures:


1720s: 15 names

    b. 1720s: 7 +  pub./fl. 1740s–1750s [b. 1720s?]: 8


1730s: 25 names

   b. 1730s: 7  +  pub./fl. 1760s, b. 1730s?: 18


1740s: 32 names

   b. 1740s: 16  +  pub./fl. 1770s, b. 1740s?: 16


1750s: 82 names

   b. 1750s: 36  +  pub./fl. 1780s, b. 1750s?: 46


1760s: 183 names

   b. 1760s: 45  +  pub./fl. 1790s, b. 1760s?: 67 

   +   pub./fl. late 18th cen., b. 1760s?: 35  + pub./fl. c. 1800, b. late 1760s?: 36


1770s: 53 names

   b. 1770s: 25  +  pub./fl. c. 1801–1809, b. 1770s?: 28


1780s: 77 names

   b. 1780s: 26  +  pub. / fl. 1810–1820, b. 1780s?: 51


1790s: 80 names

   b. 1790s: 21  +  pub. c. 1820s, b. 1790s?: 35  +  pub. c. 1830s, b. before 1800?: 24



Geographical List

The alphabetical list (PDF, 39 p.) duplicates as little information as possible from Jackson’s book—names, dates, locations, and only a few principal sources, a tiny fraction of Jackson’s rich array. For almost all of the composers, my source is Jackson’s book, abbreviated BGJ. Other abbreviations are listed in the Sources and abbreviations PDF (2 p.).


Italy: 19 names = 

     c. 1750–1780: 9

     1780s–c. 1820  7

     1820s–1830s:  3


 German centers: 66 names = 

      c. 1750–1780: 22

     1780s–c. 1820: 37

     1820s–1830s: 7


 Austria: 26 names = 

     c. 1750–1780: 5

     1780s–c. 1820: 18

     1820s–1830s: 39

 France: 140  names = 

     c. 1750–1780: 36

     1780s–c. 1820: 90

     1820s–1830s: 13

England: 188 names = 

     c. 1750–1780: 9

     1780s–c. 1820: 136

     1820s–1830s: 43


 Scotland c. 1760s–1820s: 26

 Ireland c. 1750–1830: 9

 Portugal: 1

 Sweden: 4

 Belgium: 2

 Bohemian: 1

 Netherlands: 2

 Bohemia: 1

 Poland: 10

 Russia: 8

 Switzerland: 8 

 United States: 30 =

       Colonial America/U.S.: 27

       U.S. 1820s–1830s: 3

The Classic Women project

is dedicated to 

Dr. Barbara Garvey Jackson

in admiration 

and gratitude