Cambridge Companion to Women Composers

Edited by Emeritus Professor Susan Wollenberg and alumnus Professor Matthew Head, the Cambridge Companion to Women Composers is due to be published on 31 May.

Moving beyond narratives of female suppression, and exploring the critical potential of a diverse, distinguished repertoire, this Companion transforms received understanding of women composers. Organised thematically, and ranging beyond elite, Western genres, it explores the work of diverse female composers from medieval to modern times, besides the familiar headline names. The book’s prologue traces the development of scholarship on women composers over the past five decades and the category of ‘woman composer’ itself. The chapters that follow reveal scenes of flourishing creativity, technical innovation, and (often fleeting) recognition, challenging long-held notions around invisibility and neglect and dismissing clichés about women composers and their work. Leading scholars trace shifting ideas about composers and compositional processes, contributing to a wider understanding of how composers have functioned in history and making this volume essential reading for all students of musical history. In an epilogue, three contemporary composers reflect on their careers and identities.