It seems in music history that we often tend to hear about male composers and their work, but did you know there are many prominent women composers as well? Some were known during their lifetime while others gained appreciation generations following their deaths. This month, let’s look at a few talented female composers, many who struggled due to gender prejudices during their lifetimes.
This week, let’s begin by traveling back to medieval history. Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179) lived during an era when women were expected to remain silent in church. The only way to participate in any type of leadership role or in singing and composing was by joining a convent. Hildegard was born into a noble German family who gave her up to the church at a young age. As a result, she had many intellectual opportunities within the convent which women on the outside did not receive.
|Courtesy of wikimedia.org|
Hildegard was known for founding her own convent and also as a prophet. Because people believed she was divinely inspired, she likely felt less prejudice for being a woman. Perhaps this is why she is considered to be one of the Middle Age’s most prominent composers.
Next time, join me as we look closer at one famous composition by Hildegard von Bingen.