See It To Be It: Art Songs by American Women Composers
Piazza-Pick, Jennifer Sue
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This dissertation is a short survey of art songs by American women composers from the latter part of the nineteenth century to the present. Interest in women composers is not new, yet equality has not been achieved. Concerts and recitals featuring women composers are often used as tokens to show that an organization is being inclusive. Instead, true inclusivity would regularly showcase male and female composers equally. The repertoire performed in these three recitals is not only appropriate for a professional singer but includes selections that can be sung by beginners and intermediate singers as well. The repertoire was carefully selected for texts and composition worthy of a place on any recital, regardless of difficulty. The goal was to contribute to the expansion and diversification of the standard vocal repertoire that is often assigned in university music programs. The first recital contains four important early America women composers: Amy Beach, Florence Price, Mary Howe, and Margaret Bonds. The second recital contained music by women in the twentieth century. Some of the women in this recital were born in the 1900s, but are still composing today, so repertoire was chosen that had been written in the twentieth century. Music written in the twenty-first century was the focus of the final recital. Singers begin their vocal study using art songs, yet the standard repertoire that is assigned is almost exclusively written by men. In order to diversify the repertoire, there is a need for research into art songs by women for our students. These recitals offer a starting point for teachers and performers to work toward compositional equality in art song.