VSO String Quartet

Performance Details

Date:Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 7:30pm
Location: Ewell Recital Hall
Admission: $5, free with William & Mary ID

Violinists Amanda Gates and Kirsty Green, violist Beverly Kane Baker, and cellist Rebecca Gilmore Phillips, all member of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, celebrate women composers in this inspiring program featuring the string quartets of Fanny Mendelssohn, Amy Beach, and Germaine Tailleferre.  Thanks to the groundwork of these three musical trailblazers, women are continuing to see more opportunities in the world of music composition, a world which has been traditionally male dominated.  These progressive composers fought to secure a place for women in the music world today.

Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847), sister of Felix Mendelssohn, was born in a time when a woman’s place was in the home and despite her talents, her achievements were often kept out of the public spotlight.  Through hard work and persistence, she became an influential member of Berlin’s musical society as well as one of the first women composers to have her work published within her lifetime.

After marrying her husband, American composer Amy Beach (1867-1944) was discouraged from composing and performing, as it was expected she would behave like an upper-class society wife.  Despite these barriers, Beach went on to be the first American woman to compose and publish a symphony, which was premiered with the Boston Symphony in 1896.  Her vast list of compositions includes symphonic works, choral works, chamber music, and works for piano, which she often performed herself.

As a young woman, French composer Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983) changed her last name (from Taillefesse) to spite her father, who refused to support her musical career.  Though she was forced to begin her musical studies in secret, Tailleferre went on to become a well-respected composer, securing her role in the 20th century music scene.  She became the only female member in Les Six, a young, innovative, and thought-provoking group of influential French composers which included Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric, and Louis Durey.  Using her connections and contacts, Tailleferre was able to break into the male dominated music world, composing an impressive collection of works spanning a variety of genres.

This concert is made possible in part by the Virginia Symphony Society and the 100th Anniversary of Women Committee.