Women’s History Month – Clara Schumann


Clara Josephine Wieck was born in Leipzig on 13 September 1819. Her father taught her music theory and performance in a rigorous schedule at an early age. She performed publicly as a young girl and met another young musician, Robert Schumann, when she performed at a home at the age of eight. Schumann moved into the Wieck house as a student of Clara’s father. Ten years later, Clara and Schumann married.

Clara was giving solo piano recitals in a European tour when she was eleven. She continued to perform to rave reviews after her marriage. She was praised by Frederick Chopin and Franz Liszt. She and Robert formed a close friendship to the young Johannes Brahms and she championed his music.

Although she composed many mature compositions, Clara Schumann’s legacy lies mostly in her career as a pianist. She was one of the first performers to perform works from memory in public, a practice that has been used ever since. Edvard Grieg called Clara “one of the most soulful and famous pianists of the day”. She performed her piano concerto at the age of sixteen in Leipzig with Felix Mendelssohn conducting.

Clara Schumann was responsible for raising not only her children but some of her grandchildren as well. She showed great courage when, at the age of 29, she walked through the streets of Dresden during the May Uprising to rescue her children. Although confronted by a group of armed men, she retrieved her children and escorted them back home to safety.

Enjoy this romanticized reenactment of Clara Schumann from the film “Song of Love” in which Clara (Katharine Hepburn) schools Franz Liszt on the art of simplicity.

Bellatrix Musica Part I: Hildegard of Bingen

In honor of women’s history month, WUOL has also created Bellatrix Musica, a four-part podcast on the influence of women throughout music history. Part one focuses on female musicians in the early Church, particularly the work of Hildegard of Bingen. Check back in the following weeks for more, including features on Clara Schumann, Fanny Hensel, the Boulanger sisters, and more.


O virga mediatrix, Hildegard of Bingen, performed by Sequentia, Canticles of Ecstasy, Deustche Harmonia Mundi 77320

Instrumental Piece, Hildegard of Bingen, performed by Sequentia, Hildegard von Bingen: Symphonie/Spiritual Songs, Musical Heritage Society 513813

O virtus sapentiae, Hildegard of Bingen, performed by Sequentia, Hildegard von Bingen: Symphonie/Spiritual Songs, Musical Heritage Society 513813

O quam mirabilis est, Hildegard of Bingen, performed by Sequentia, Hildegard von Bingen: Symphonie/Spiritual Songs, Musical Heritage Society 513813

O clarissima mater, Hildegard of Bingen, peformed by Sequentia, Hildegard von Bingen: Symphonie/Spiritual Songs, Musical Heritage Society 513813

Louisville Orchestra Mozart Soloists

This Saturday, March 15th at the Brown Theatre, the Louisville Orchestra will play an all-Mozart concert led by Tito Muñoz and featuring soloists from within the orchestra. Concertmaster Michael Davis and principal horn John Gustely sat down with Alan Brandt to talk about the concert and their roles in the orchestra.

Carnegie Hall Live: The English Concert


Early-music specialist Harry Bicket returns to Carnegie Hall with The English Concert for the next installment in their Handel project—the rarely heard oratorio Theodora. Featuring some of the composer’s most glorious music, this tragic work depicts the self-sacrificial love between a Christian virgin and a Roman imperial bodyguard, sung here by vocal greats Dorothea Röschmann and David Daniels. This deeply moving oratorio serves as a timeless parable of spiritual resistance to tyranny and an indictment of persecution, topics that still resonate with audiences today.

Women’s History Month – Dobrinka Tabakova


Dobrinka Tabakova was born in 1980. But she has gained a huge following and many commissions for compositions in her short time as a composer. Born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, her talent was recognized very early. She won the Jean-Frederic Perrenoud Prize of the 4th International Competition of Music in Vienna when she was only 14 years old. Schooled in England, Tabakova was taught by Simon Bainbridge, John Adams, Iannis Xenakis and many others.

Tabakova’s music is definitely tonal. Many of her works utilize long flowing melodic lines, with harmonies reminiscent of early Minimalism. Her music is, at times, atmospheric – creating a mood of longing and nostalgia. There is currently only one compact-disc of Tabakova’s work available, but that will surely change soon.

Enjoy this excerpt of Dobrinka Tabakova’s Dawn: