>My wife floored me, I am ashamed to say, with a question: "So who were
>the first great female classical music composers?" I couldn't name one.
>I can't even remember having ever known an example.
>I've seen some names on this list (albeit very few) of examples in this
>century. (Wait, I mean LAST century.) But what about pre-1900? Or even
>the early 20th century?
The problem is the word "great." My "great" is probably not yours. As
far as I know, there never has been a woman composer as *influential*
as Bach or Beethoven, but "influential" doesn't necessarily mean "great"
and vice versa.
I can, however, think of very good women composers of the 19th century
-- Fanny Mendelssohn and Amy Beach come to mind immediately. I'm not
big on Chaminade or Farrenc myself, but some people like their stuff.
Hildegarde of Bingen has a nice rep, but I can take her music or leave
it alone. Barbara Rossi seems no worse than a lot of minor Italian
composers of her time.