Farny to present paper on female composers at international conference

Marketing and Communications staff
Dr. Natasha Farny

Dr. Natasha Farny

School of Music Professor Natasha Farny will present a paper on three women composers for cello at the “Women are Not Born to Compose” virtual conference at the Luigi Boccherini Central Study Conference Center in Lucca, Italy.

The four-day conference, to be held Nov. 27 to 30, will feature talks devoted to women composers from 1750 to 1950.

In “Worthy of the Canon? Three Romantic Sonatas for Women for Cello and Piano,” Dr. Farny will examine the early phases of the careers of Luise Adolpha Le Beau, who attracted the attention of journalists when she won first prize in an international competition held in Hamburg, Germany, and surprised judges by her unexpected gender; Dame Ethel Smyth, the first woman composer to have a work performed at the Metropolitan Opera and was knighted by the King of England; and Countess Dora Pejačević, the first Croatian to produce a symphony.

“Despite such honors and breakthroughs during their lifetime,” Farny said, “these composers are all but unknown in today’s Classical music world.”

Farny will investigate whether, despite gender-related disadvantages, the early sonatas of these women are worthwhile for study and performance.

“I will look at whether each work broke new ground for the era and what level of challenge it brings to performers,” Farny said. A key element in her study will include how the composers might have rated their own works in comparison to their overall output.

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