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I didn't say "high in relation to the number of men". There were more male composers, but the difference is not as big as one would expect. The number of female composers was high compared to today's expectations and higher than in other areas at the time like politics.
Which differences would one expect? Which particular proportion and why? How to get estimates for something like this? I have no idea.
One could argue that compared to many other fields there were a lot of women active in classical music in the 18th and 19th century, including professional performers. So from this fact one might expect more female composers than there were, or more famous ones. OTOH, I don't think any female composer of the 19th century is today regarded as highly as e.g. Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters and a few other female writers, *despite* a lot of female performers and high hurdles for female writers (like publishing under male pseudonyms etc.).
Is this selective sexism against Fanny Mendelssohn or an justified estimation that the historical and artistic importance of e.g. "Wuthering Heights" is on a different level than Fanny's chamber music or lieder?
Sexism is one factor, but it often seems a lazy catch-all (non-)explanation, if suggested as the only or main factor. It also works in strange ways. Why do we find female conductors still uncommon when we had female star performers since more than 200 years? If we were such sexists why didn't we ban the opera divas or Clara Schumann from performing?
 

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Women have made tremendous progress in the past fifty years.

I really do not care how misogynistic western society was a century ago.
 
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I'm guessing you're a man, speaking to other mostly men I presume, denying that sexism exists.
The women I talk to don't use this term. I think it is a political term that normal people don't really use.

allaroundmusicenthusiast said:
I'm a man too, and yes, I'm from Argentina. By mentioning where I'm from I guess you think: "ach so, dieser Typ lebt in Lateinamerika, natürlich ist da Alles schlecht, und die Männer behandeln die Frauen wirklich schlecht." Oder? :lol:
No, although I heard some bad things about Colombia. I don't think bad about Argentina and this is not the point.

The point is that you say that we live in a sexist society, although we live in different societies. You can't know them all. You can't judge them all. But sexism is treated as a showpiece problem that everywhere exists anyway, for which everyone can be blamed across board without arguments.

And that women are treated unfairly at some places or in some circumstances is taken as justification to disadvantage men under circumstances where feminists have power. The term "sexism" is used as a justification for a general war against men.

allaroundmusicenthusiast said:
You know you're reproducing sexist attitudes and thinking with your posts. Females write "beautiful music", females can't come up with "Bruckner like symphonies" and so on and so on
Then show me please a symphony by a woman that is similar to a Bruckner symphony. I am searching for such symphonies.

Something isn't wrong just because you call it "sexist".

Which differences would one expect? Which particular proportion and why? How to get estimates for something like this? I have no idea.
The talk about classical music of past centuries is like 98% about male composers. Thats just my perception. So I guess one would expect something like 2% female composers in the past.

Kreisler jr said:
Sexism is one factor, but it often seems a lazy catch-all (non-)explanation, if suggested as the only or main factor.
Yes. On the one hand they pretend it is a term of scientific analysis on the other hand it is used as a term for political agitation for day-to-day politics. Attack everyone with the term but if the term is attacked bring up some very specific justification. The term is about creating a habitat where everything against men for women is seen as good without closer look at "details".

Kreisler jr said:
It also works in strange ways. Why do we find female conductors still uncommon when we had female star performers since more than 200 years? If we were such sexists why didn't we ban the opera divas or Clara Schumann from performing?
The 19th century wasn't as bad as some think. It is depicted as something super bad, that still influences us in a bad way, from which we have to get rid off. Imo that is basically nonsense.
 

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Women have made tremendous progress in the past fifty years.
I really do not care how misogynistic western society was a century ago.
Yet and yes, Aries' views are firmly rooted in attitudes from the 19th century, as described for example also in the following articles.

(the OP already mentioned a bit of historical background, but):

1) An article dealing with some 19th century women composers, besides mentioning the intimate, limited and emotional miniature genres they were supposed to deal with, if being active as composers besides being musicians, such as Lieder:

"... The relative unsuccessfulness of 19th century women composers in their time was the result of numerous factors, including social constraints and tight chains forged by the hands of fellow musicians and composers, whose eyes could not see as far as their ears could hear. In the same way, the current widespread ignorance is the result of numerous factors (...) Even if a woman did manage to gain the courage to work outside of the home and defy her limiting role in the household (...), and if she then attempted to compose, she would also face the obstacle of becoming accepted, or even noticed, in the world of music. The most powerful people (...) were male " (etc. ...).
https://digitalshowcase.lynchburg.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1013&context=agora

2) Another article about Maria Szymanowska, briefly summing up some of the conditions for female composers & the causes for their relative neglect, also dealing a bit with Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel:
https://culture.pl/en/article/elisabeth-zapolska-chapelle-women-composers-worked-in-isolation

"Let's recall here the curious information, repeated over years (...) that most of Maria Szymanowska's compositions were published (...) in the years 1819 to 1820 by the renowned Leipzig publishing house Breitkopf & Härtel. I examined the catalogues (...): they didn't publish women's works, as the very concept of a 'woman composer' simply did not exist. The one, lone exception to this was (...) - a few years earlier - the Romances of the Dutch Queen Hortense Beauharnais, the daughter of Empress Josephine. Maria Szymanowska was only able to count on some limited interest on the part of European publishers once she had attained the title of Court Pianist to the Russian Czar (...), and had achieved international fame with her performing tours - so actually, some four or five years after (...) ... Women composers were forced to resort either to copying their works by hand or to having them printed at their own expense. "


3)
A 3rd article, in Danish, but there's a summary in English, about the composer Nancy Dahlberg, "a composing lady", concluding, among other things, that: a) women composers were by definition considered inferior to male composers way up in the 20th century, very obvious from the reviews b) she had to organize and finance concerts for her music to be known, in spite of her talent and fine educational references:
Quote: "Close reading of newspaper critics shows that it was acceptable in society for a woman to manifest herself as an artist but that she was expected to express herself in a particular way, which would not assail the prevailing conception of femininity. In other words, music criticism was characterized by a sexual ideology which prevented it from evaluating Nancy Dalberg's compositions objectively. As a result her creative efforts were not taken seriously and gradually she lost the confidence to present
herself as a composer.
"
(Fund og Forskning article about Dahlberg 2006, available as PDF)

4) an article describing the publication strategies and reception of four 19th century female composers, Fanny Hensel, Emma Hartmann, Ida D'Fonseca and Frederikke Løvenskiold, in Danish, arriving at the same conclusions: if women would compose music, it would be an exception, if the works were published.

- Fanny Hensel's surroundings excelled the same limitations for her career, and she was always in doubt, whether it was appropriate for her to publish her works, including using her own name;

- Emma Hartmann preferred to publish anonymously or using a fake name; since women's musical education remained mostly practical rather than theoretical, this would tend to limit their more ambitious efforts, and in the case of Hartmann, she was even bad at writing scores & got assistance for that from male acquaintances.

- Ida D'Fonseca was the first Danish female composer, that published in her own name (songs) and financing them herself; she had a short singing career, was unorthodox and remained unmarried. She got mixed reviews (it is not mentioned how much they focused on her sex), but she mostly composed songs to promote her career.

- Frederikke Løvenskiold composed works as private gifts, or for ceremonial occasions in her aristocratic surroundings (fanfares etc.), and she wasn't under the pressure of producing High Art. But sometimes she preferred to publish anonymously anyway.
https://library.au.dk//fileadmin/ww...seter_Musikhistoriografi_og_faghistorie_2.pdf
 

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Yet Aries' views are very firmly rooted in attitudes from the 19th century, as described for example in the following articles.
Fortunately, young women composers choose to ignore those articles and attitudes and have simply gone about their business of writing music and getting it performed.

As I was once told, "don't let the turkeys get you down."
 

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It's a bit unclear to me, whether you are talking about 'back then' or 'recently". There's no doubt, that the attitudes 'back then' meant limits for the efforts of women trying to compose, as told about in the articles.
"Right now" is what's relevant, IMO. Yes, "back then" there were attitudes which are, thankfully by and large, behind us, although a few dinosaurs still wander amongst us, but have little to no impact on the behavior of female composers.
 

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In this thread (and in this sub-forum) politics can be discussed only as far as they are related to classical music (in this case female composers). General political discussions are not allowed. We have removed posts that discussed political aspects not sufficiently connected to the subject of music and composers, and reactions on them.
 

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I would expect that male compositions are more extravagant than female compositions. For me this would be an advantage for male compositions before the modern period. (Seems kinda unlikely to me that a woman would come up with symphonies like Bruckner) Since then it would be an advantage for female compositions. It is maybe not a happenstance that Alma Deutscher is female and writes beautiful music. I guess for a boy it would be more likely to come up with something atonal these days. The beauty of traditional classical music is maybe overall more attractive for girls, while boys rather want to be "cool" with some gangster rap. When I was a 14 year old boy I didn't told everyone that I like classical music.

But I don't really know contemporary composers well enough yet.
If we did a blind test guessing whether a piece of music was written by a man or a woman I doubt you (or anyone) would be able to distinguish between the two.
 

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"Right now" is what's relevant, IMO. Yes, "back then" there were attitudes which are, thankfully by and large, behind us, although a few dinosaurs still wander amongst us, but have little to no impact on the behavior of female composers.
I got your point, when reading your post again, so I had my post, with the question you then answered, deleted. But thanks for clearing up the matter further.
 

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If we did a blind test guessing whether a piece of music was written by a man or a woman I doubt you (or anyone) would be able to distinguish between the two.
Obviously, cf. Ustvolskaya, Bacewicz, Dlugoszewski, Gubaidulina, Chin, Terzian, Zechlin, Saariaho, Crawford Seeger, Smyth, Macunchy, Gloria Coates etc., all transgressing any preliminary thoughts about a 'typical feminine style' - and that pretty solidly.
 

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I came across this in the Wikipedia article about Ethel Smyth, whose main works date from 1890-1930 (a quote from Eugene Gates):

Smyth's music was seldom evaluated as simply the work of a composer among composers, but as that of a "woman composer." This worked to keep her on the margins of the profession, and, coupled with the double standard of sexual aesthetics, also placed her in a double bind. On the one hand, when she composed powerful, rhythmically vital music, it was said that her work lacked feminine charm; on the other, when she produced delicate, melodious compositions, she was accused of not measuring up to the artistic standards of her male colleagues.
By the way, her work is well worth exploring. I particularly like the Concerto for Violin, Horn and Orchestra .
 

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Focusing on prolific composers in their 60s-90s means listening to the state of affairs a few decades ago.

I agree with SanAntone that there are many women in the field of composition, both trained and currently in training, and I see no reason for sex or gender to matter much in the determining of the success of people in pursuing excellence in composition today, with Youtube, IMSLP, and so, so many free resources around...
 

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Sexism is one factor, but it often seems a lazy catch-all (non-)explanation, if suggested as the only or main factor. It also works in strange ways. Why do we find female conductors still uncommon when we had female star performers since more than 200 years? If we were such sexists why didn't we ban the opera divas or Clara Schumann from performing?
Two very different things. Allowing female vocal or instrumental performers did not automatically guarantee women would be accepted in leadership roles like conducting, any more than allowing female performers on the spoken stage or in films guaranteed that women would be embraced as directors. There has long been a glass ceiling in the arts, which we're still in the process of breaking through.
 

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I don't know where or when your daughter was in school, I am only offering my experience based on my first hand interactions with composers since 2014. I have a blog with dozens of composer interviews. I haven't counted but they are at least 50:50, but I would not be surprised if there were more women than men.

I also prefer to acknowledge progress when there has been some as opposed to continuing to focus on past transgressions.
My daughter was at Florida State about 6 years ago. I don't think she felt there were necessarily fewer women in the composition program, but the ones she knew all had stories about how they were treated worse (less capable, less important, etc.) than the men.
 

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Has Florence Beatrice Price (April 9, 1887 - June 3, 1953) been mentioned? An African American female composer, pianist, and teacher.

Price is noted as the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra.[2] Price composed numerous works: four symphonies, four concertos, as well as choral works, plus art songs, and music for chamber and solo instruments.
I'm listening to her first symphony conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séquin and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

 

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For those interested, Clara Iannotta is a very talented Italian composer based in Berlin.
Clara Iannotta is also the author of "Statement for 50:50 gender equality in 2030". (this statement was used in a 2019 panel discussion at Wien Modern)

excerpts =>

"In 2017, I was writing an interdisciplinary piece, skull ark, upturned with no mast, which involved a heavy amount of electronics. To complete this work, I was offered some time in the electronic studios at the TU in Berlin, so I went there with my partner to have a look. I asked specific, technical questions to the men (there were just men) working there, and although I was the one asking the questions, they kept replying looking at my partner. When I presented this same piece at the Münchener Biennale, a fellow composer who knew me went to talk to my partner asking whether I was the one who really made the piece. A couple of years ago, the brass section of an ensemble I was working with drew penises on the objects I had given them to perform the piece with. The fact I was using ping-pong balls and vibrators should not devalue the musical purpose of those objects. I posted it on social media, and (mostly male) composers commented, saying that I should have taken it as a funny joke, that that is what happens when you use innuendo objects, that what happened had nothing to do with me being a female composer. But questions about the quality of my music based on my gender are something I have had to - and still have to - deal with constantly. When I was awarded the DAAD Berliner Künstler-Programm residency, my professor said it made sense that I got it, since I was "young, female, and pretty". And today, with artistic directors pledging that they want to reach a 50-50 gender equality, we doubt ourselves even more. Is it because of our talent that we got that commission, or simply because the artistic director had to check a box?"

(...)

"To be fair, I do see a rising awareness of gender above all in the younger generations, and this gives me the hope that our new music community will be more inclusive and diverse in the near future. But institutions are still resistant, and it is frustrating to see that still in 2018, some of the most renowned festivals in Europe featured 90 to 100% white, male composers on their programs.

It is also as important and essential that gender balance is implemented within institutions of higher education. Nowadays, most university job advertisements end with a statement about equal employment opportunity, but how many positions have been assigned to men and how many to women every year? All the people I studied with were men, with the only exception of Chaya Czernowin, who was my professor in composition at Harvard University. I was 31 years old when I met her. When a female composer spends most of her educational years taught by men, studying principally works written by men, taking part in a community which represents predominantly male composers, it is likely that she will doubt whether this is a career that she can seriously undertake." (...)

full text => http://claraiannotta.com/statement-for-5050-in-2030/
 

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Has Florence Beatrice Price (April 9, 1887 - June 3, 1953) been mentioned? An African American female composer, pianist, and teacher.

I'm listening to her first symphony conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séquin and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

I recently listened to her first violin concerto. Very good and accessible and refreshingly not self-consciously artsy-fartsy. I'll have to listen to more of her music.
 
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