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 school in Graz. In the […]

Mary Howe

Mary Howe was an American pianist and composer. In 1922, at the age of forty, married with three children, she completed an artist diploma in composition at Peabody Conservatory with Gustav Strube. Having studied piano in Germany at a young age, she returned to Europe to study composition with Nadia Boulanger in 1933. Although she […]

Joaquín Rodrigo

Joaquín Rodrigo was one of the most significant figures in 20th-century Spanish music. A gifted composer, pianist, academic, and music critic, he cultivated a neoclassical style that blended Classical idioms with the rhythms, textures, and colors of Spanish music; he wrote music that was, in his words, “faithful to tradition.”  Rodrigo’s eyes were severely damaged […]

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 the Paris Conservatoire urged her […]

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 to many different countries in […]

H. Leslie Adams

The composer and pianist H. Leslie Adams has had a long and illustrious career. Now in his nineties, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1932. Adams studied voice, piano, and composition at Oberlin College and went on to earn a master’s degree in music from the California State University at Long Beach in 1967 […]

Adolphus Hailstork

Adolphus Hailstork is a prolific composer who has written over 250 works in just about every genre imaginable: symphonies, operas, cantatas, concertos, chamber music, choral pieces, songs, and more. A native of upstate New York, he currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is professor emeritus of composition at Old Dominion University.  Hailstork has described […]

Connie Converse

Connie Converse was one of the first singer-songwriters, but she toiled in obscurity, and her music didn’t become widely known until the first decade of this century. She recorded a small number of songs in the 1950s (in her small Greenwich village studio and in the home of an animator and audio enthusiast named Gene […]

Theodoro Valcárcel

Theodoro Valcárcel was one of the most significant Peruvian composers in the first half of the twentieth century. He published a wide variety of works, including ballets, a violin concerto, a symphonic poem, piano pieces, chamber pieces, and many songs. Valcárcel belongs to a group of Peruvian artists and musicians who, starting around 1920, turned […]

Mary Turner Salter

Born in Peoria, Illinois, Mary Turner Salter went to high school just across the Mississippi River in Burlington, Iowa, before moving east to study music at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She was a gifted mezzo-soprano and pianist, and she sang professionally in Boston and New York City and taught voice at […]