Women Composers in Concert and Film Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich Andreas Klemm

Women Composers in Concert and Film


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Music – Classical Music
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Rainbow Sound Orchestra Munich
Conductor: Mary Ellen Kitchens

Women composers not only had a hard time in the past, they still play a very subordinate role in the concert business today. In some cases, the sheet music exists only in hand-written manuscripts from which practical editions must be produced. The musicologist Tobias Fasshauer has devoted himself to this detailed labor of love, arranging two of Emilie Mayer's eight symphonies for performance. Although he introduces us to the second symphony of the Berlin composer in the documentary, the RSO-M will present her third  symphony of which no recording yet exists. Emilie Mayer received support from some of her male colleagues, extraordinary for a woman in the 19th century, and established herself as a permanent fixture in Berlin's musical scene. Her work also spread to other cities, but after her death it quickly fell into oblivion.

Mel Bonis, on the other hand, withdrew into private life to a large extent after first playing the piano and studying at the Paris Conservatoire. Her parents arranged for her to marry a wealthy widower, and so Mel Bonis was able to devote herself to music, freed from material worries. Due to her gender and social conventions however, she was denied the chance to truly pursue a professional career as a composer. She published many piano pieces, but in order not to be recognized as a woman, she changed her first name from »Mélanie« to »Mel«. Although the work »Les Gitanos« was published in piano versions, it is in the orchestral version especially that the Spanish colours unfold in this three-minute »Valse espagnole«. (Spanish waltz)

This promises to be an unusual matinee of around one hour, where one will experience the works from a very special perspective: the orchestra will be seated in the middle of the hall and the audience will have the chance to mingle around the musicians, enjoying the concert at close-range.

With support of the Department of Arts and Culture of the City of Munich (musica femina münchen e. V.)


  • Composer: Emilie MayerOpus: Symphony No 3 in C major
  • Composer: Mel BonisOpus: Les Gitanos Op 15/3 for Orchestra (The Gypsies)




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