Art
Song
An online forum devoted to art songs by underrepresented composers whose music has been marginalized.

Our Composers

Austria

Elise Schmezer

Elise Schmezer was a singer, pianist, and composer who published about forty songs between 1848 and 1856. Little is known about her life. She was born around 1810—where she was born, however, isn’t clear—and she grew up in Graz, Austria. Her father taught trumpet, French horn, and trombone at a

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France

Mel Bonis

Mélanie Bonis’s life story is one of perseverance and talent overcoming all manner of obstacles. She grew up in a middle-class home with parents who did not support her musical ambitions—she taught herself piano until she was twelve and was only allowed to take music lessons after a professor at

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England

Dame Elizabeth Maconchy

Elizabeth Maconchy was a fiercely individual Irish-English composer who wrote music that was often highly dissonant, contrapuntal, intense, even disturbing—and far from the more pastoral, lyrical music of fellow Britons such as Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams (who taught her composition at the Royal College of Music and remained

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Chile

Carmela Mackenna

Carmela Mackenna was a Chilean woman composer who wrote a wide variety of works, including solo piano pieces, chamber music, choral music, orchestral music, and songs. She belonged to an aristocratic family, and thus received training in music and foreign languages. Mackenna married a diplomat, so her life involved traveling

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France

Lili Boulanger

Lili Boulanger had a tragically short life. She died at age twenty-four from intestinal tuberculosis, and spent much of her life in poor health, having contracted pneumonia as a toddler, which compromised her immune system. Still, in those twenty-four years she produced a wide variety of remarkable compositions, including many

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Clara Faisst
Germany

Clara Faisst

Clara Faisst was a composer, pianist, and poet who spent the bulk of her life in Karslbad, Germany. In her twenties she studied music in Berlin, learning composition from the composer Max Bruch and music theory from Clara Schumann’s half-brother Woldemar Bargiel. She settled in Karlsruhe and made her living

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Video Recordings

The music by these composers has not been recorded very often, in some cases not at all. This is why one of the purposes of the ASA is to offer quality video recordings of this overlooked repertoire.

Did You Know?

Look out for the question mark icons on this website to find out the little-known but fascinating facts about our composers.
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Fanny Hensel’s op. 1 (a collection of six songs) was published in the summer of 1846, less than a year before she died of a stroke at the age of 41.

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Marie Vespermann appeared in public concerts as young as age nine and began composing songs at age twelve.

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Marie Franz composed a stirring setting of Goethe’s poem “Meine Ruh ist hin,” which is even more turbulent than Franz Schubert’s immortal 1814 setting of the same text — “Gretchen am Spinnrade.”

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Mary Wurm was a gifted piano teacher. In 1914, she published a collection of music designed for the teaching of preschool-age children, The ABCs of Music (Das ABC der Musik).

ASA Creator

Stephen Rodgers is the Edmund A. Cykler Chair in Music and Professor of Music Theory and Musicianship at the University of Oregon, where he has been teaching since 2005. Rodgers’s research focuses on the relationship between music and poetry in art songs from the nineteenth century to the present day, especially art songs by underrepresented composers.

Verse & Music

Join Stephen as he explores how composers transform words into songs in his podcast Resounding Verse.