WOMEN COMPOSERS

Listed by name (maiden/married) most often used in published pieces.

Ellen Avery (1833-?) was born in Lewes, Sussex, England. She became an established organist, pianist, and music teacher in London.

Georgina Bairnsfather (1848-1916) was born in Blairgowrie, Perth, Scotland, daughter of George Bairnsfather of the Honorable East India Company Society (MPFG). Little is known of her life, but some of her songs were published when she was young. Never married, she resided with relatives or on her own means in Brighton (Sussex), and Westminster, London. She was a friend of a successful London pianist, Mrs. FitzGerald. She died in St. George Hanover Square, London. She composed a number of piano pieces, anthems, songs, and part-songs.

Charlotte Alington Pye Barnard (1830-1869) was born in England and was married to Charles Barnard, the parson of St. Olaves in Ruckland, Lincolnshire. They lived at The Firs in Westgate, Louth, Lincolnshire, then moved to Pimlico, London. She died in Dover. She composed many songs and ballads, mostly in a more popular style. She also composed many hymns, quartets, duets, and piano pieces. She most often published under the pseudonym CLARIBEL and is probably best known for her song Come Back to Erin and the hymn tune Brocklesby.

Ann Sheppard Mounsey Bartholomew (1811-1891) was born in London and studied organ early in life. After 1828, she became the organist at various London churches, serving at St. Vedast Foster Lane for nearly fifty years. In 1845 she was accompanist at the premiere of Mendelssohn’s anthem Hear My Prayer. In 1853 she married its librettist, William Bartholomew (1793–1867). After her marriage she taught music in London and worked as a composer.

Ethel Mary Bilbrough, née Dixon, (1868-1952) was born in Hampstead, London, England. She and her husband Kenneth Leslie Bilbrough lived at Elmstead Grange in Chislehurst, Kent, where he was a banker. She was an amateur artist and actively wrote letters to the papers. Her most significant work was My War Diary 1914-1918, a memoir of life on the Home Front during the First World War. Along with her writings, the book included scrapbook-like cuttings, cartoons, her own watercolors and drawings. She composed a few hymns and songs. She died in Marlborough, Wiltshire, England.

Maria Lindsay Bliss (1827-1898) was born in Wimbledon, Surrey, England, daughter of the Reverend Henry Lindsay. She married the Reverend John Worthington Bliss (1832-1917) who became Canon and Rector of Betteshanger, near Sandwich, Kent. She was one of the first 19th century women to achieve commercial success as an English songwriter. Her publisher, Robert Cocks & Co., signed her up on an exclusive contract. During 1860s she was second only to Franz Abt as the most popular composer in their song catalogue. Her popularity lasted through the century and in 1900, after her death, Wickins and Co. published Album of Miss M. Lindsay’s Songs. She also corresponded with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and set some of his poems in song. She died in Betteshanger.

Ethel Mary Boyce (1863-1936) was born in Chertsey. She attended the Royal Academy of Music and was a pupil of Walter Macfarren. She never married but was briefly engaged to fellow student Sir Edward German. She was named Lady Goldsmid Scholar, won the Sterndale Bennett Prize, and was awarded the Lucas Medal for composition. She was known as a teacher of music and composed a number of works.

Harriet Mary Browne Owen (1790-1858) was born in Liverpool, England. Her father was a Liverpool merchant and her mother was the daughter of the Austrian and Tuscan consul to Liverpool. The family moved to Wales and she grew up near Abergele and St. Asaph in Flintshire. Her sister was poet Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans. She composed a number of musical works but was confused during her lifetime with another composer, making attribution of her works difficult and, in some publications, she was identified as “Miss Brown.” She was also known under the pseudonym Mrs. Hughes. In addition to her musical compositions, she wrote “The works of Mrs. Hemans, with a memoir by her sister.”

Carrie Nichols Bullard Lewis (1865-1951) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, daughter of a dry goods merchant. She was educated in the Boston public schools and Girls’ Latin School. She studied music in Germany and returned to Boston. Her husband was Leo Rich Lewis (1865-1945), a composer and professor of music at Tufts College. Her brother was composer Frederick Field Bullard (1864-1904). She was active as a composer, sometimes using her given name and sometimes the pseudonym “Caryl B. Rich.” Her compositions include operettas, children’s operettas, part-songs, quartets, songs and children’s songs.

Agnes Burney (1839-1919) is a pseudonym used by Mary Holden Coggeshall, married name Mary C. Seward [Mary Holden Coggeshall Seward]. She was born in New London, Connecticut, and was educated at the Female Academy in Norwich, Connecticut. Her husband was composer Theodore F. Seward. She was best known for her work in humanitarian causes. She was a member of the International Sunshine Society; the Sorosis Club of New York City; the Woman’s Club of Orange, New Jersey; was twice president of the National Society of New England Women; and was president of the Blind Babies’ Hospital in Summit, New Jersey. She died on a train travelling to Buffalo, New York. Artistically, she was known for writing poems and hymn texts but did compose a small number of hymns and small choral songs. She collaborated extensively with her husband on a number of hymnbooks and choir training books.

Mary Grant Carmichael (1851-1935) was born in Birkenhead near Liverpool, England. She was educated in France and Switzerland, studied music in Munich, and studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music. She was an active pianist in London. She appeared as an accompanist at the Monday Popular Concerts (1884-5) and was concert accompanist to many important singers of the day, including Liza Lehman and Gervase Elwes. She died in London. Her compositions include a Mass in E flat, an operetta, piano pieces, solo songs, editions of old English and Italian airs, and part-songs. Of note were her settings of poems by Christina Rosetti.

Grace Wilbur Conant (1858-1948) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She never married and included her mother’s maiden name in her professional name. She was musical editor for the Kindergarten Review and authored or co-authored a number of books, including Songs for Little People, with Frances Weld Danielson (1905); Worship and Song, with Benjamin S. Winchester (1913); Religious Dangers of Modern Tendencies in So-Called Religious Songs (1917); and Song and Play for Children, with Frances Weld Danielson (1925). She composed many songs, hymns, and carols. She also wrote using the Pseudonym A. B. Ponsonby. She died in Malden, Massachusetts.

Mabel Wheeler Daniels (1878-1971) was born in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Her parents sang in the Boston Handel and Haydn Society and both grandfathers were church musicians. She studied piano as a child and composed short pieces by age ten. She studied at Radcliffe College, singing in the glee club and performing in operettas. As student, she composed and conducted two school operettas. She studied composition at the New England Conservatory of Music. She attended the Munich Conservatory and was the first female to successfully enroll in Director Stavenhagen’s score-reading class. Returning to Boston, she joined the Cecilia Society, became director of Radcliffe’s glee club and director of the Bradford Academy music program. She also served as head of music at Simmons College. She died in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Katharine Eggar (1874-1961) was born in London, England. She studied at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin, the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels, and the Royal Academy of Music in London. At age At age 19, she became the first woman to perform her own chamber works at a London public concert. She was a champion for women in the music field and co-founded the Society of Women Musicians.

Rosalind Frances Ellicott (1856-1924) was born in Cambridge, England. She studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music and with well-known pianists of the time. Her early works experienced success and she was commissioned to compose works for the Gloucester and Cheltenham Festivals. She gave concerts of her music at Queen’s Hall, London, and a series of chamber music concerts in Gloucester. She retired from active musical work in 1900 and died in Seasalter. Included in her compositions are cantatas, a fantasy for piano and orchestra, overtures, trios, a violin sonata, piano quartet, string quartet, songs and part-songs.

Jennie May Carpenter Fleck (1867-1897) was born in Scottville, Michigan, and married music teacher and composer Oliver Leander Fleck (1863-1897) of Indiana. They lived for a time in Cook County, Illinois. About 1892, they relocated to Southern California where they lived in Los Angeles, Colton and Riverside. They both contracted tuberculosis. She gave birth to a child as she was being committed to the Southern California Asylum. They both passed away a short time later in Riverside.

Anne Fricker Mogford (1815-1893) was born in Chelsea St. Gages, Middlesex, England. She was successful as a composer, lyricist, and music teacher. Her first song was published in 1839. She married John Mogford in 1854 at Old Church, Saint Pancras, London, England. She lived in Willesden, Middlesex, England, and in St. John Hampstead, London. She composed at least 40 songs and some piano pieces. One of her most popular songs was Dinna Ye Hear (Jessie of Lucknow). She died in Hampstead, London.

Mary Ann Virginia Gabriel (1825-1877) was born at Banstead, Surrey, England. She studied music under Johann Peter Pixis, Theodor Dohler, Sigismond Thalberg and Bernhard Molique, and Saverio Mercadante. She became very well-known as a song-writer. She also composed nine operas and a number of cantatas. Her husband was her librettist George March. She died in London from “injuries sustained by a fall from a carriage.”

Florence Everilda Goodeve [née Knowlys] (1848-1916) was born in Heysham, Lancashire, England. Musical as a child, she was composing by age fourteen. She wrote many piano pieces and songs, and was known as an excellent painter. For a time she lived in Calcutta, India, as her husband Louis Arthur Goodeve (1841–1888) served as an advocate in the High Court. She died in London.

Alice E. Morse Griffeth (1856-?) was born in Ohio. She married Benjamin F. Griffeth who taught vocal music in various locations including Chrisman, Illinois, in Iowa, and at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. He became a pastor in the Baptist Church and served at churches in Medina and Granville, Ohio, and was pastor at West End Baptist Church and West Lynchburg Baptist Church in Virginia. She also wrote songs used in the singing schools.

Gertrude Mary Hine (1854-1946) was born in Kentish Town, Middlesex, England. Her mother was landscape painter Mary Ann Eliza Egerton Hine. She wrote the music for Nursery Rhymrd, a 19th Century publication by Stanley Lucas, Weber, and Co. Her part-Song “Song of the Wind” was quite popular and appeared in Novello’s Past-Song Book. The lyrics of the Part-Song were written by her sister Maude. Her spouse was Alfred Robert With (1852-1921). She died in Alton, Hampshire.

Caroline Holland (1834-1909) was the daughter of Sir Henry Holland, 1st Baronet, Physician Extraordinary to William IV and to Queen Victoria. She was a successful amateur composer and conductor of “Miss Holland’s Choir.” In annual concerts, her choir was known for performing British premiers of music by Grieg, Rheinberger, Tinel, etc. She composed a cantata, music for chorus and orchestra, songs, part-songs, and other works. She authored “Notebooks of a Spinster Lady,” published posthumously.

Avanelle L. Holmes (1846-1902) was born in Ohio and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan. She taught in the public schools in Sidney, Delaware, and Ada, Ohio. She lived briefly in Evanston, Wyoming where she taught in the school and was acting pastor at the Methodist Episcopal Church. She returned to Ohio and, in 1873, married Isaac M. Reed. They lived in Ohio, in Graysville, Tennessee, and in Pleasant Valley, Nebraska. She died in Nebraska. She authored numerous poems and short stories and wrote a number of songs.

Elizabeth Field Ingram Hubbard (1844-?) was born in Leverett, Massachusetts. She became the wife of music educator and composer Thomas William Hubbard (1844-?) and settled in Union City, Michigan. With her husband, she was active as a music teacher in conventions and Normals throughout the region. She wrote many songs for these events and, with her husband, compiled the collection “Hubbard’s Success.”

Sophie E. Hudson

Eva M. Higgins King (1866-1959) was born in Indiana. She married music teacher, composer and publisher Jacob Franklin King of Wayne County, Ohio, and lived in Walcottville, Indiana, where he operated a music publishing business. They were active teaching music conventions and singing schools throughout the region. She composed for his singing school collections. They eventually moved back to his former Ohio home and, after he died in 1904, she married Elmer C. Bowman. She died in Columbus, Ohio, after a number of years living there.

Margaret Ruthven Lang (1867-1972) was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a family that was part of the Boston musical aristocracy where famous musicians were frequent guests. Richard Wagner’s children were her playmates. She received lessons in harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration, then went to Munich to study violin and counterpoint. But she was denied entrance into the Royal Conservatory of Music as a female. She returned to Boston and continued studies in orchestration and composition. She became a successful and productive composer and her works were often performed in Boston concert halls. In 1893, the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered her Dramatic Overture, Op. 12, the first composition by a woman to be performed by a major American symphony orchestra. After she stopped composing, she was devoted to religious work, attending the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Boston. She was subscriber to the Boston Symphony Orchestra for a record 91 consecutive years. In 1967, the orchestra performed a concert in honor of her 100th birthday. In her honor, they installed a plaque on her seat, 1st Balcony, Right, B.

Clara Angela Macirone (1821-1914) was born in London, the daughter of Italian musicians. Her father was a singer and mother a pianist. She studied singing and piano at Royal Academy of Music. She built a reputation as a pianist, then as a teacher at the RAM, developing a system of music teaching that earned recognition by the eminent composer Sir George A. Macfarren. She was also active as a composer, publishing simply as C. A. Macirone. Most of her compositions are part-songs. These achieved wide recognition through performances by massed choirs at the Crystal Palace and at Exeter Hall. Her part-song “Sir Knight” was the first music heard by Queen Victoria over the telephone in 1878. She died in London.

Florence Ashton Marshall, née Thomas, (1843-1922) was born in Rome, Italy, and studied music at the Royal Academy of Music with William Sterndale Bennett, John Goss and George A. Macfarren. n 1864 she married businessman, writer, and music collector Julian Marshall. She and her husband both contributed to Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians. She was elected an associate of the Philharmonic Society and conducted the South Hampstead Orchestra. She and her husband were also founding members of the Musical Association. She published a biography of Handel and the book Life and Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1889). Florence Marshall composed solo songs, part songs, educational pieces, and operettas. Selected works including the operettas The Masked Shepherd (1879) and Prince Sprite (1897)

Alicia Adélaïde Needham [née Montgomery] (1863-1945 [some give DOB 1872-75]) was born in County Meath, Ireland. She studied at Victoria College, Londonderry, then at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music. During WWI, she served as a Red Cross Searcher for the wounded and missing. Her husband Joseph Needham (1853-1920), was a surgeon in Clapham, London. After his death, she was awarded a civil pension “in consideration of her work as composer, and of her straitened circumstances.” She died in Yorkshire. She published a few piano pieces, but was best known as a composer of songs and ballads in traditional Irish style, publishing over 600. She won numerous prizes, including a prize for best composition in honor of the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.

Jessie Louise Pease (1865-1943) was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, daughter of Frederick Henry Pease, founder and head of the Conservatory of Music at the Michigan State Normal School. She attended the Conservatory and taught piano there. She studied with Arthur Foote in Boston and spent time in Munich, Paris, and London studying with various master teachers. She died in New York City. She was well known as a composer of songs, particularly in dialect or about children.

Elizabeth Gluyas Philp (1825-1885) was born in Falmouth, Cornwall, England. She trained under soprano Baroness André Caccamisi Marchesi, noted teacher Garcia, and became a protégée of soprano Charlotte Cushman. She also studied harmony and composition in Cologne under Ferdinand Hiller. Settling in London, she became well recognized as singer, music educator and composer. She was part of a community of musicians and writers in London and neighbor and friend of Charles Dickens’ wife Catherine Hogarth. She published the book “How to Sing an English Ballad” and composed many songs. She died in London from liver disease. (Some sources state birth-year as 1827. Records of England Births and Christenings indicate birth-year 1825).

Oliveria Louisa Prescott (1843-1919) was born in London. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music under George Alexander Macfarren and became his artistic assistant and copyist. She wrote a number of books on music including “Form or Design in Vocal and Instrumental Music” and “About music, and what it is made of; a book for amateurs”, the later published in 1904 and dedicated: “To the memory of My Master George Alexander Macfarren. ‘I was eyes to the blind’—Job xxix.15.” She lectured in harmony and composition for Newnham College, Cambridge, and taught harmony at the High School for Girls in Baker Street, London. She composed two symphonies, several overtures, a piano concerto, shorter orchestral pieces, vocal and choral works.

Lilian Robinson

Clara H. Scott (1841-1897) was born Clara H. Jones in Elk Grove, Illinois. At age 15, she attended the first Music Institute held in Chicago by C. M. Cady. By age 19, she became a music teacher at the Ladies’ Seminary, Lyons, Iowa. She married Henry Clay Scott in 1861 in Iowa. She died in Dubuque, Iowa, when she was thrown from a buggy by a runaway horse. She composed many piano pieces, songs for choral education, and many hymns. She published the “Royal Anthem Book,” the first volume of anthems published by a woman. Her most well known composition is the hymn “Open my eyes, that I may see.”

Sidney Alice Sheppard (1837-?) was born in Devonshire, England. Little is known about her. Around 1870, she was a music teacher in Lambeth, London, and friend of composer Francesco Berger (1834-1933). She published a few piano pieces, songs, and part-songs between 1861-1875.

Alice Mary Meadows White [née Smith] (1839-1884) was born in London, England. Showing talent as a youth, she studied privately with William Sterndale Bennett and George Alexander Macfarren. She was elected Female Professional Associate of the Royal Philharmonic Society and an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music. Her music first published at age eighteen, she was an active composer until her death at age 45 from typhoid fever. Her compositions include two symphonies, four piano quartets, three string quartets, a clarinet sonata, six concert overtures, an operetta, cantatas, service music, anthems, songs, and part songs. Two of her anthems are the earliest known use of music by a woman composer in Church of England services (1864).

Elizabeth Stirling (1819-1895) was born in Greenwich, London, and studied music at the Royal Academy of Music with Edward Homes, W. B. Wilson, J. A. Hamilton and Sir George Macfarren. In 1837 she performed a recital at St. Katherine’s Church, Regent’s Park, which was reviewed by The Musical World. In 1839 she took a position as organist at All Saints’ Poplar Church. 1853, passed the examination for the degree of Mus. Bac. At Oxford but did not receive the degree, for at that time, no woman had yet been awarded a degree from the school. She is considered one of the finest of the English organists and published many organ works and over fifty part-songs. Her part-song “All Among the Barley” (1849) won a prize offered by Novello & Co. and became one of the most popular English part-songs. The song was so popular and became so ingrained in the culture, that it is now often referenced as a folk song.

Mary Helena Synge (1848-1895) was born at Parsonstown, Ireland, daughter of Sir Edward Synge. She studied music privately, then studied piano and singing in Brussels. She became a successful concert pianist, appearing throughout England and Ireland. Her compositions include mostly pieces for piano, vocal pieces, and songs.

Emily Bartlett Tallmadge (1840-1900) was born in Dutchess, New York. Her father was Nathaniel Potter Tallmadge (1795-1864), U.S. Senator from New York. In 1844, the family moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, when President John Tyler appointed him Governor of the Wisconsin Territory. In 1874, Emily married James D. Tallmadge (1824-1897), a publisher in Chicago, Illinois. She was a vocal supporter of the women’s suffrage movement and other social causes. In 1886, she and her husband published “Labor Songs Dedicated to the Knights of Labor.” She died in Fond du Lac. Her compositions are principally songs and choruses.

Alexandra Thomson (1867-1907) was the daughter of the Most Rev. William Thomson, Archbishop of York. She studied at York Minster under Dr. John Naylor and at the Royal College of Music. She married New Zealand army officer Lt.-Col. John Studholme in 1897 and moved to Coldstream, New Zealand. She died there from chloroform administered as an anesthetic for an examination of an unknown medical complaint. She was known as an outstanding organist and composer of organ pieces.

Flora Ellis Wells (1845-1929) was born in Lima, New York. She was a graduate of Genesee College (now Syracuse University) in Lima and studied organ with Félix-Alexandre Guilmant at the French Conservatory in Paris. She became a well known organist, recitalist, and composer. She held several teacher, music director, and organist positions in Syracuse and Penn Yan, New York; Champaign, Illinois; and Chicago, Illinois. She was also active in The American Association of University Women. She died in East Orange, New Jersey. Most of her compositions were for organ but also included a few songs for voices.

Francis Cunningham Woods (1862-1929) was born in London, England. She studied at National Training School, Kensington, under Sir Arthur Sullivan, John Stainer, and Ebenezer Prout. She also graduated from Oxford University. She was organist, Brasenose College, Oxford, and was appointed organ scholar at Exeter College. She was appointed private organist to the Duke of Marlborough, at Blenheim, and was organist and music master at Highgate School. She was an active recitalist and teacher. She was conductor of the Oxford Choral and Philharmonic, the Bicester Choral, and the Lincoln and Exeter College Musical Societies. Her compositions include a cantata, anthems, services, madrigals, college songs, songs, incidental music, a suite for string orchestra, a suite for military band, and other assorted instrumental works.

Agnes Marie Jacobina Zimmermann (1847-1925) was born in Cologne, Germany. After her family moved to England, she was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music at the age of nine. She received the Kings Scholarship from 1860 to 1862 and made her public debut in 1863 at The Crystal Palace playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. After ending her studies, she performed in numerous concert tours. She published her own editions of compositions by Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann. She died in England.