Publication Date

Spring 4-16-2021


Though the accepted canon of vocal literature for classical singers is extensive, repertoire by female composers is largely overlooked or omitted when considering what comprises this canon. The lack of the female presence “does not mean that women have been silent as composers, performers, and participants in other facets of music” (Citron 2000, 41). The history of vocal music is peppered with female composers, many of whom were singers themselves, but the majority of these composers have been hidden in obscurity, overshadowed by their male counterparts, or dismissed due to their lack of public recognition. Though the limitations of social constructs perhaps explains the lack of attention to female composers in the past, this does not explain their continued neglect today. This lecture recital will serve as both a historical survey and a teaching plan for select works by women composers. I will evaluate each piece by using a numerical scale to rate the level of difficulty of the following categories: vocal demand, musicality, emotional depth, and difficulty of the piano accompaniment. This will provide the reader with valuable information regarding the appropriateness of this repertoire for singers at an undergraduate or graduate level. The lecture recital will touch on music from the Baroque, Romantic, and Twentieth Century eras of music as well as early musical theater. Though this lecture recital will discuss many different female composers for piano and voice, the specific composers that will be showcased in the recital will be Barbara Strozzi, Fanny Mendelssohn, Libby Larsen, Pauline Viardot, Amy Beach, and Kay Swift. I will highlight some of their most well-known and most overlooked compositions. I will discuss the specific vocal techniques and skills that these pieces help the singer learn and develop. Additionally, I will provide information on what Fächer these women traditionally wrote for in order to provide an adequate and reliable resource when considering these composers for recital programs. By informing the reader of these composers and the quality of their work, I hope to expand the canon of vocal repertoire and aid in encouraging others to do the same.

Major Mentor

Dr. Jennifer M. Coleman, D. M. A.

Second Mentor

Dr. Ted Wylie, D. M.

Third Mentor

Dr. Peter Lamothe, Ph. D.


Music, School of


Music and Performing Arts, College of

Document Type



Master of Music (MM)

Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University