Cecile Chaminade (1857–1944) was a gifted pianist and composer who, unlike some of her female contemporaries, did not struggle to make a name for herself during her lifetime. She began writing for her church at eight. Recognized by Georges Bizet as a true talent, she was encouraged to begin private music studies from prominent musicians of the day. This was in lieu of attending the Conservatoire, which was prohibited because of her gender.
|Cecile Chaminade: Courtesy of wikimedia.org|
At eighteen, Chaminade gave her first public concert and from there, began touring France, Belgium, Britain, and eventually America performing her own works. In 1913, she was the first woman to receive the Legion of Honor from the French government. Despite her success, she went relatively unnoticed by scholars following her death. It wasn’t until the late 20th-century when a newfound interest in women composers developed, that she gained proper attention.
Curious if you know a piece by Chaminade? Join me next time as we look at one of her works.