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  • Writer's pictureKiara Eijo

10 Female Composers you should check out!!

In honor of Women's History Month, I wanted to talk about the ten female composers that I believe that you should check out. Unfortunately in the classical music world, the music of female composers doesn't get as much hype as composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak and Phillip Glass. Disclaimer: I don't own most of these videos; the only video that is mine is my recording of Danza de la Mariposa for Solo Flute by Valerie Coleman. If you are interested in what female composers I will mention, then keep on reading.😊


1. Valerie Coleman

Valerie Coleman (b.1970) is an American Flutist and Composer who was one of the founding members of the Grammy-Nominated Wind Quintet, the Imani Winds. She is currently the Assistant Professor of Chamber Music at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. In 2019, she made history by the first African-American Woman to have a work commissioned and premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra; That piece was Umoja, Anthem for Unity.

Notable Works: Ruby St. Nola for three C flutes, Danza de la Mariposa for solo Flute (I have my own recording of the piece on both my media page and my YouTube Channel) Umoja for wind quintet, Wish Sonatine for flute and piano, and Amazonia for flute and piano.

2. Lili Boulanger

Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) was a French Composer of the Early 20th century who comes from a family of composers/pedagogues. She was considered a prodigy but sadly her life/career was cut short when she died from tuberculosis at the age of 24. Her older sister was Nadia Boulanger who was a well-known composition teacher who taught everyone from Darius Milhaud to Aaron Copland to Quincy Jones and during her career, she also started memorial fund to keep her sister's legacy alive. Notable Works: Nocturne for Violin and Piano (also arranged for Flute and Piano) and D'un Matin Printemps (Originally written for Orchestra but it is also arranged for Violin and Piano and Flute and Piano).

3. Tania León

Tania León (b.1943) is a Cuban Composer whose music has been commissioned by orchestras such as The New York Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony and more. In addition, she was a founding member and the musical director of the Dance Theater of Harlem. She also has guest conducted with the New York Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuba, Santa Cecilia Orchestra to name a few. Notable works: Stride for Orchestra, Alma for Flute and Piano, and Del Caribe Soy! for Flute and Piano.

4. Nicole Chamberlain

Nicole Chamberlain (b.1977) is a Flutist/Composer based in Georgia, who is best known for using a lot of extended techniques in her music. She is a Powell Flutes Artist and her music is pretty popular right now. Her music has been commissioned by the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, Fort Dodge Area Symphony, the Oklahoma Flute Society and countless others. Her music is published through her publishing company Spotted Rocket Publishing. Notable Works: Death Whistle for Solo Piccolo, Asphixia for Solo Flute, Three Nine Line for Flute and Piano, Wail for Flute and Trombone, and Valentine for Flute and Guitar.

5. Mel Bonis

Mel Bonis (1858-1937) (born Mélanie Hélène Bonis) was a French Composer of the late Romantic period who was a student of César Franck and was a classmate of Claude Debussy. She faced a lot of discrimination due to her gender, she adopted the more androgynous "Mel" as her pen name. Notable Works: Suite en Trio for Flute, Violin, and Piano, Op.59, and Sonata for Flute and Piano

6. Yuko Uebayashi

Yuko Uebayashi (circa 1958) is Japanese-French Composer who's works are very popular in the flute community; Countless Flutists such as Emma Resmini, Carol Wincenc, Viviana Guzmán and more have been champions of her works. She was trained in Japan but now currently lives in Paris. Notable works: Le Moment du Cristal for Flute and Piano, Town Light for Two Flutes and Piano, and Sonata for Flute and Piano.

7. Katherine Hoover

Katherine Hoover (1937-2018) was an American Flutist and Composer who came from a non-musical family. She got her degrees from Eastman School of Music and Manhattan School of Music (where she later taught for 15 years) and she studied with Legendary Flutists Joseph Mariano and William Kincaid (who was Principal Flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and taught Julius Baker). Many of her works have been performed by countless flutists and some her works have won the NFA (National Flute Association) Newly Published Music Competition. Notable Works: Kokopeli for Solo Flute, Winter Spirits for Solo Flute, Medieval Suite for Flute and Piano, and Greet the Sun for Solo Flute.

8.Cecile Chaminade

Cecile Chaminade (1857-1944) was a French Composer during late Romantic/early 20th century who studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Benjamin Goddard. Her music fell into obscurity after she died but her most popular work was the Concertino in D Major Op.107 for Flute and Piano (Orchestra). Notable works: Concertino in D Major Op. 107 for Flute and Piano (Orchestra) and Sérénade aux étoiles Op.142 for Flute and Piano.

9.Jennifer Higdon

Jennifer Higdon (b. 1962) is an American Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Winning American Composer who has been commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony to name a few. In 2010, She won a Pulitzer Prize for her Violin Concerto which was written for Violinist Hilary Hahn. Notable Works: Blue Cathedral, Cold Mountain, Violin Concerto, and for solo flute.

10. Shulamit Ran

Shulamit Ran (b.1949) is an Israeli-American Composer who studied at the Mannes College of Music and was a student of Elliot Carter and Ralph Shapey. She was on faculty as a composition professor at the University of Chicago from 1973-2015. In 1990, She won a Pulitzer Prize for her Symphony. Her works have been performed by the Israel Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra to name a few. Notable Works: East Wind for Solo Flute, Symphony, Concert Piece for Piano and Orchestra, Legends for Orchestra, and Birds of Paradise for Flute and Piano.

Thanks for Making it to the End!!!!

If you are interested in reading the post that I wrote for Hispanic Heritage Month click here

If you are interested in reading my last blog post, click here

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Until Next Time, Bye!!! 👋

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