University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Arts and Creativities Research Group > New horizons for piano: historic women composers who wrote for the keyboard and how to reintroduce their work into piano education

New horizons for piano: historic women composers who wrote for the keyboard and how to reintroduce their work into piano education

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This presentation explores the history of women composers who wrote for the keyboard from the late 17th to the early 20th century and features extracts from some of their major solo works. Much has been written on the legacy of Nadia Boulanger, perhaps the most famous composition teacher of any era, but what is less well known is that the Paris Conservatoire, where she studied and taught before 1914, has a history of influential female pedagogues going back to the earliest days of its foundation during the French Revolution. I will focus on four of them: piano professors, Hélène de Montgeroult and Louise Farrenc and prize-winning alumni, Marie Jaëll and Mel Bonis, each a renowned composer and performer in their own right, who left us with hundreds of works both for the concert hall and for didactic purposes. I’ll also be drawing on the legacy of composers Marianna Martines, Anna Bon, Elizabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, Elisabetta de Gambarini, Maria Szymanowska and Fanny Hensel. Music which could greatly enrich modern day recitals and teaching anthologies.

Colin Hazel is a pianist, singer, MD, composer, arranger and teacher with a music degree (BA Hons) from the University of Nottingham. He has worked as a solo performer and accompanist in a variety of theatre, jazz and classical groups, including The Barefoot Doctors and Giffords Circus. He has published New Horizons For Piano: Grades 2-3, and is working on a Grades 4-6 collection. Colin’s interest in the history of women composers addresses the need for raising awareness and widening access to diverse piano repertoire in music education.

This talk is part of the Arts and Creativities Research Group series.

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