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Music Library Womens´ History Month Display

Painting of Anna Amalia, Princess of Prussia with the text Women's History Month Exhibit

Western Illinois University´s Music Library is proud to present a Women´s History Month display on women composer-performers of the Baroque and Early Classical Eras (1640-1824). The display features Anna Amalia, Princess of Prussia, Anna Amalia, Duchess of Saxe-Weimer, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, and others.

Anna Amalia, Princess of Prussia, youngest sister of Frederick the Great, began composing in her mid-30´s. She hired J.P. Kirnberger, a pupil of J.S. Bach, as her teacher. Her greatest significance to music is her library collection, which is currently held in the Königliche Bibliothek in Berlin.

Anna Amalia, Duchess of Saxe-Weimer cultivated artistic interest by surrounding herself with professional and amateur musicians, poets, and scholars. Wilhelm Bode called it, "Court of Muses".

Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre was a French harpsichordist and composer. She gave lessons and concerts in Paris. She was the first female opera composer in France.

Other featured composers include Antonia Bembo (1640-1720), Venetian composer and singer, who enjoyed the patronage of Louis XIV of France; Maria von Martinez (1744-1812), composer and harpsichordist, who, as a patroness of the arts, encouraged Haydn and Mozart; Maddalena Laura Sirmen (1745-1818), composer and violinist who toured extensively in Europe – her compositions were played extensively during her lifetime; Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759-1824) blind composer, pianist, organist and singer, much admired by Mozart who dedicated one of his piano concertos to her.

The exhibit includes a slide-show with audio of excerpts from the composers’ works.

Please feel free to stop by the Music Library, located in room 108 Sallee Hall, during the month of March to see the display and listen to recordings of music by these women composer-performers.