We are a team of researchers at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, and we have created this web site to to disseminate cutting-edge research to a public audience about the involvement of Women in Art Music (WAM!).
Women’s participation in music—as, for example, composers, performers, patrons, instrument builders, copyists, and directors—is very little discussed in the public sphere, yet there are humanities scholars who are actively researching these topics and writing about them for a specialized readership. Our team seeks to engage these scholars in recorded interviews and consultation in the creation of digital content in order to share their research on women in music with a wide public audience.
A digital platform devoted to this subject will be of interest for performers and ensemble directors, teachers, students at all levels, and indeed, a general audience who may feel that classical music is not for them. Working with humanities experts, we create podcasts and videos that present research in this area, as well as web texts that summarize key information, annotated bibliographies, and lists of editions that can be used in teaching, study, and performance. Our aim is to present sound musicological scholarship on women in art music in a way that is accessible to a broad and diverse audience.
We are musicians and musicologists. From one perspective, therefore, our engagement in the study of Women in Art Music (WAM) is only natural–after all, we seek to uncover the histories of any kind of music. But the stories of Women in Art Music are often untold, so, from another perspective, our goals are more specific:
- Recognizing that women have often been excluded from narratives of musical history, we hope to contribute to recent attempts at rectifying that problem.
- New academic research takes time to permeate the popular narratives about music. We seek to accelerate that progression by presenting cutting-edge research on Women in Art Music in highly accessible ways.
- Increasingly, performers are looking for ways to incorporate compositions by women within their concert programming. More and more resources exist that present women’s compositions. These resources often take the form of databases or lists, providing breadth of information but not always depth. We seek to provide that deep context, enriching the stories of composers and their works.
- For many women in history, composition was not an accessible art form. Yet women have always actively shaped their musical environments in other ways. We seek to tell the stories of Women in Art Music that lie outside the bounds of compositional history.
- Finally, while there is a great deal of new research on women in contemporary popular music, we have heard from contemporary women who are composers of art music that they value musicological work on their predecessors. By connecting the traditions of contemporary women’s art music with women in the history of art music, we argue for the continuity of women’s practices and the importance of their artistic contributions.