The Washington Post
By Anne Midgette
August 4, 2017
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The top 35 female composers in classical music

NPR’s recent list of the 150 greatest albums by women was inspiring — but where were the composers? In the wake of much discussion about the chronic underrepresentation of female composers on American concert programs, I came up with my own best-of list. Since I was responding to a list of recordings, I confined myself to artists active in the recorded music era, the 20th and 21st centuries — leaving out Hildegard von Bingen, Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Wieck Schumann, Barbara Strozzi, Marianne Martinez, and many others. My selections are based on a combination of personal preference and some idea of what constitutes “importance,” and it was hard to winnow it down to only 35.

Anna Clyne, 37

London-born, Brooklyn-dwelling Clyne writes well-crafted music with close links to narrative, which makes her a natural for the ballet stage (“Rift,” for example, written in 2016 for the Cabrillo festival, is described as a “symphonic ballet”). Her music often incorporates electronic components in uneasy partnership with the acoustic instruments, as in “Seamstress,” her violin concerto written for Jennifer Koh, who also premiered her double concerto, “Prince of Clouds,” with Jaime Laredo — both with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where Clyne was composer in residence for five years. A mentor has been Marin Alsop, who commissioned Clyne’s “Masquerade” for her appearance conducting the last night of the BBC Proms in 2013.

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