Women's History Month - Celebrating the Music "She" Wrote

Each March, the world has the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women everywhere. I personally like to think of the power of women composers, a group of which I am a member. Many of you might know of a concert which is one of my proudest works, Music She Wrote: A Celebration of Women Composers. This program consists of showcasing the works of women, from Hildegard Von Bingen to Barbara Strozzi; Fanny Hensel to Florence Price. All of these women had different life experiences. Yet, one of the unfortunate shared experiences was that of inequity as women composers.

Still, they prevailed. Fanny Hensel, the sister of renowned composer, Felix Mendelssohn, was a talented composer, whose work had to be published under her brother’s name and whose father encouraged her to fit into the proper mold of what a woman should be: a wife and mother. Florence Price, the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra, fled the south and its racial injustice in the mid-20th Century. The list goes on, but one thing we know for sure: their music prevailed and has inspired so many women across the globe and for centuries.

I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all women artists everywhere; especially the composers. You are uniquely qualified to share your story and others’ stories through music, by sheer virtue, strength and beauty of the female spirit.

Yolanda Johnson