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Although female composers may seem thin on the ground in the historic grand catalogue of musical works, the last century or so has seen their gradual ascendancy to a position of real artistic significance.

The Naxos catalogue of works by female composers is constantly growing. Over the next three months, for example, we will release discs of music by three outstanding contemporary women composers, featuring orchestral works by Elisabetta Brusa (April) and Joan Tower (May), and the complete works for guitar by Sofia Gubaidulina (June).

What follows is a brief survey of the tremendous contribution that female composers have made, and continue to make, to the classical musical scene.

To browse the complete catalogue of works by female composers, click here.

Elisabetta BRUSA (b. 1954)
Orchestral Works, Vol. 2

“First class performances, and a splendidly vivid recording.”

  Listen to an extract
from Favole:
The Philosophical Fly

Joan TOWER (b. 1938)
Made in America / Tambor / Concerto for Orchestra

“Naxos’ first-rate engineering mirrors the music’s excitement and immediacy. Enthusiastically recommended!”

  Listen to an extract from Concerto for Orchestra:
Part I

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931)
Fachwerk / Silenzio

“A marvellous disc.”
BBC Music Magazine

  Listen to an extract
from Silenzio:
IV. eighth note = 152

Judith BINGHAM (b. 1952)
Jacob's Ladder / Into the Wilderness / Ancient Sunlight

“Tom Winpenny opens an illuminating window on Bingham’s richly-coloured, programmatically-driven engagement with the ‘king of instruments'.”
BBC Music Magazine

  Listen to an extract from Jacob's Ladder:
Anxiety Dream

Jennifer HIGDON (b. 1962)
Piano Trio / Voices / Impressions

“This is an excellent disc of communicative contemporary music from a composer I want to know better.”
MusicWeb International

  Listen to an extract from Piano Trio:
I. Pale Yellow

Alla PAVLOVA (b. 1952)
Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8

“Have you given up on modern symphonies as sources of melodic reward? Pavlova will restore your faith.”
MusicWeb International

  Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 7:
Movement I

Liza LEHMANN (1862-1918)
The Daisy Chain / Bird Songs / Four Cautionary Tales
and a Moral

“...this excellent recital offers 75 entertaining minutes and includes several songs that deserve a far wider reputation... What's more, the singing, shared by four vocalists, is top-notch.”

  Listen to an extract from The Daisy Chain:
The Swing

Fanny MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-1847)
Piano Sonatas in C and G minor

“...any listener with a fondness for the intimacy of early romantic piano music should investigate this recording without hesitation.”
MusicWeb International

  Listen to an extract from Sonata in C minor:
I. Allegro moderato e con espressione

Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896)
Piano Concerto / Piano Trio

“Listeners whose major priorities have to do with pricing, coupling and/or chamber music need not hesitate to add this disc to their collections.”

  Listen to an extract
from Piano Concerto
in A minor

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