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Top Ten Women In Classical Music

There have been countless women who have made significant contributions to classical music throughout history. It's difficult to narrow down the list to just ten, but here are ten women who have made a significant impact in the classical music world. None of them are particularly “well known”.



  1. Marian Anderson - Born in 1897 in Philadelphia, Marian Anderson overcame racial discrimination to become one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century. She was the first African American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and also performed at the White House and on numerous international stages. Her repertoire included opera, spirituals, and art songs, and she was known for her powerful and expressive voice.

  2. Ruth Crawford Seeger - Born in 1901 in East Liverpool, Ohio, Ruth Crawford Seeger was an American composer and musicologist who was instrumental in the development of modernist music in the United States. Her works, which include experimental and avant-garde compositions, have been performed and recorded by many musicians and ensembles.

  3. Sofia Gubaidulina - Born in 1931 in Chistopol, Russia, Sofia Gubaidulina is a Russian composer known for her unique style that blends elements of Russian folk music, contemporary classical music, and Eastern spirituality. Her works often feature unusual instrumental combinations and are characterized by their emotional intensity and rich textures.

  4. Wendy Carlos - Born in 1939 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Wendy Carlos is an American composer and electronic music pioneer known for her work on the soundtracks of films such as A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. She was one of the first musicians to popularize the use of the Moog synthesizer, and her innovative work helped to establish electronic music as a viable and respected genre.

  5. Jennifer Higdon - Born in 1962 in Brooklyn, New York, Jennifer Higdon is an American composer known for her accessible and emotionally expressive works, including orchestral and chamber music. She has won numerous awards for her compositions, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2010.

  6. Kaija Saariaho - Born in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland, Kaija Saariaho is a Finnish composer known for her unique soundworlds and use of electronic and acoustic instruments in her compositions. Her works often explore themes of spirituality and the natural world, and she has received numerous commissions and awards for her music.

  7. Anna Netrebko - Born in 1971 in Krasnodar, Russia, Anna Netrebko is a Russian soprano and one of the most famous and highly regarded opera singers of our time. She has performed at many of the world's leading opera houses and has won numerous awards for her vocal artistry.

  8. Lera Auerbach - Born in 1973 in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Lera Auerbach is a Russian-American composer, pianist, and poet known for her versatility and prolific output of works for various ensembles. Her music often explores themes of memory, loss, and the human condition, and she has been hailed as one of the most important composers of her generation.

  9. Jessye Norman - Born in 1945 in Augusta, Georgia, Jessye Norman was an American soprano and one of the most celebrated opera singers of the 20th century. She had a powerful voice and a commanding stage presence, and she performed a wide range of repertoire, from opera to spirituals to Broadway tunes.

  10. Meredith Monk - Born in 1942 in New York City, Meredith Monk is an American composer, singer, and interdisciplinary artist known for her unique blend of music, dance, and theater in her works. Her compositions often incorporate extended vocal techniques and non-traditional instruments, and she has been a pioneering force in the development of experimental music and performance art.


Here are ten more women who are perhaps better known in the classical music genre:


  1. Clara Schumann - German pianist and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era.

  2. Hildegard von Bingen - German composer, writer, and philosopher of the medieval period, known for her Gregorian chants and other sacred music.

  3. Fanny Mendelssohn - German composer and pianist, sister of the famous composer Felix Mendelssohn.

  4. Nadia Boulanger - French composer, conductor, and teacher, known for her influential teaching career and for training many of the most famous composers of the 20th century.

  5. Alma Mahler - Austrian composer and socialite, known for her turbulent personal life and her compositions, which include songs, chamber music, and an opera.

  6. Ethel Smyth - English composer and suffragette, known for her operas and other works, including the "March of the Women," which became a feminist anthem.

  7. Barbara Strozzi - Italian composer and singer of the Baroque era, known for her expressive and dramatic vocal music.

  8. Lili Boulanger - French composer and younger sister of Nadia Boulanger, known for her innovative use of harmony and orchestration in her compositions.

  9. Maria Anna Mozart - Austrian pianist and composer, older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and a talented musician in her own right.

  10. Joan Tower - American composer and conductor, known for her distinctive style and her contributions to the development of American orchestral music.

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