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Women in music education - Wikipedia

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Edited by Roger Mantie and Gareth Dylan Smith

Sort order. Jul 25, Mills College Library added it. Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, native-born Jewish women suffered from the same Victorian limitations that affected the entire middle-class female population, that is, the belief that professional appearances in public were socially degrading. That attitude was compounded by the lack of a tradition of professional artist-musician families such as prevailed in Europe, in which women were trained and introduced into professional circles by family members.

As a result, in the late nineteenth century, women in music began moving into public life and professional endeavors. Indeed, a startling change had taken place: Women were crowding into the fields of music and music teaching. Their involvement increased from thirty-six percent in to sixty percent in , the latter a historic high.

Another favorable element was the traditional Jewish valuing of culture and learning that many families brought with them from Europe, a value system reinforced in America by the nineteenth-century amateur tradition of musical accomplishment. Training in voice and piano made middle-class unmarried women more valuable on the marriage market. However, the arts have always been a way up for marginalized people. From the s on, antisemitism was on the upswing, reaching its high point in the s and continuing until the s. Indeed, musicians have benefited from being members of the international musical community.

The reasons for this are historical: Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, Americans valued European over native-born performers. Indeed, musicians working in the classical tradition, whether or not native-born, were expected to have European training and experience, while those trained in United States were considered inferior. Much remains unknown about the population of Jewish women in secular music, for whom religion did not play an obvious part in their musical lives. In an age when assimilation was the aim for many, religious differences were suppressed, even at times denied, and names changed, leaving many unidentified as Jews.

The investigator risks thrusting on some women an identity they have rejected. Of course, the reverse is true as well: A number of musicians of Anglo-Saxon descent changed to Slavic-sounding names, e.

Online Master of Music in Music Education

Despite these limitations, a picture of female Jewish participation in music begins to evolve. Singers predominate. For those with musical gifts, careers in opera and musical theater were the only ones in which women are irreplaceable by men. For these women, being reared in the European tradition of multilingualism was and is a distinct advantage.

In addition, American audiences have been long been exposed to opera, art, and ethnic songs sung in foreign languages. Gluck, who began in opera, ultimately chose concert singing, making of it a notable success. Estelle Liebling also had a short career in opera.

A native-born American, she combined the advantages of fine European training with birth into a professional artist-musician family. Multitalented she also served as a vocal accompanist , upon her return to the United States in , she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera. Thereafter, although continuing to perform, she concentrated on teaching voice.


Two singers born early in the twentieth century who had brief careers in opera but chose to be lieder and concert rather than opera singers were Ruth Kisch-Arendt and Jennie Tourel , the latter possibly the greatest of them all. Tourel maintained her interest in Jewish affairs and became an ardent and musically active supporter of Israel, teaching and performing regularly in that country.

Born Belle Silverman in , Sills was a child prodigy: She appeared on radio beginning at age four, started her long years of study with Estelle Liebling at age seven, and began her professional singing career at sixteen. Her career in opera began in her thirties with the New York City Opera, where she became its star.

Women Music Educators in the United States

She faced opposition to joining the Metropolitan Opera under Sir Rudolf Bing but finally overcame that as well. Her long and illustrious career as prima donna and remarkable singing actor was crowned by a directorship of the New York City Opera. Her subsequent appointment as president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was another first for a woman.

Sills then served as chair of the Metropolitan Opera from to , when she announced her intention to retire from public life. The saloon singer and musical theater actor Sylvia Sims, the daughter of an immigrant father, learned her craft by sneaking into saloons to hear jazz greats, overcoming poverty and a minimal education to become one of the outstanding saloon singers of her generation.

Among the Jewish women active in the folk music movement was Cass Elliot , famous as a member of the Mamas and the Papas. Eydie Gorme , an outstanding popular singer, became famous as a recording artist and as half of a radio duo with her husband, Steve Lawrence. The daughter of immigrant Turkish Jews, she was fluent in Spanish and recorded and broadcast in that language for the Voice of America.

Carole King , middle-class and college-educated, is a much honored singer and songwriter. Three women have had outstanding careers as lyricists in popular music, theater, and film: Sylvia Fine , Dorothy Fields , and Betty Comden.

Women have had a harder time succeeding as instrumental performers. Women of all backgrounds faced handicaps that men were spared. Olga Samaroff born Hickenlooper, as noted above wrote of the lower fees traditionally paid to female concert artists. Yet women on the road had greater expenses than men because of the need for companions while young and for multiple expensive concert gowns instead of the one standard outfit for men.

Finally, while female wunderkinder have strong audience appeal, that appeal often dwindles with increasing age, something that rarely affects men. Adherence to socially constructed gender roles as a limiting factor is dramatically illustrated in the life of Hephzibah Menuhin , gifted sister of Yehudi. Thus her career, though it flourished sporadically, never equaled her promise as a child. A second sister, Yaltah — , also musically gifted, had even less of a performing career. Nadia Reisenberg had an international career as a concert pianist. She first studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in her native Russia, where she made her debut.

Her performing career included appearances with major orchestras and ensembles in Europe and the United States. Rosalyn Tureck , who was native born, came from a musical immigrant family who provided her with fine teachers. At sixteen she won entry to the all-scholarship Juilliard School and soon after her debut established her reputation as a Bach specialist with an international career.

Laredo began as a child prodigy whose first teacher was her mother. After making her debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at age eleven, she studied with Rudolf Serkin, who was a powerful and continuing influence in her musical life. A prodigy, she made her debut at nine with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, then continued her training in England and the United States. In , she became second violinist in the all-female Olive Mead String Quartet, one of the earliest all-female groups and considered among the finest in the country.

Lillian Fuchs was born into a musical family in She had first-rate conservatory training as a pianist and then as a violinist, and was able to move into the mainstream of musical life in New York, joining her two gifted brothers in chamber music recitals. She was a member of the Perole String Quartet from to the s, one of the first American women to break the gender barrier in quartet playing.

Yet women were for many years locked out of these positions. Their first reactions to such discrimination took the form of all-women groups, beginning in the late nineteenth century and coming to a high point between and , when dozens of such orchestras were active from New York to California. Blanche Bloch had the advantage of concertizing with her husband, a violinist, beginning with his debut in She also taught piano, the only other option open to most pianists.

The concert career of Eudice Shapiro b. Some of the women trained in orchestra playing in the all-women groups moved into positions vacated by men during World War II. A few were able to remain after the war was over, beginning the long struggle to integrate community, regional, and in recent years, major American orchestras. Progress for instrumentalists in the fields of jazz and popular music has been slower. Here women found an opportunity during World War II to form their own groups, most notably the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, in order to work and grow as artists.

Rotenberg was an early crossover artist who later became a member of the New York City Opera Orchestra. American composers have had an even longer struggle than performers for recognition, whatever their religious background. Composers who enter the professional music field first as performers have a distinct advantage. Mana Zucca born Augusta Zuckerman in was a composer as well as a pianist and singer with an extensive performance record, including appearances with major orchestras.

Her songs with Yiddish texts are discussed above.