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Category: Women in Music

Woman with dark hair, fancy dress and pearls with eyes closed and mouth slightly open, singing

Sheet Music and Pic of the Week: Happy Birthday Bessie Smith!

Posted by: Pat Padua

Legendary blues singer Bessie Smith was born on this day in 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Portions of this blog post were taken from the online exhibit, American Treasures of the Library of Congress. Bessie Smith gained immediate success in 1923 with her first recording “Down Hearted Blues”/”Gulf Coast Blues.” Her renditions of Negro life in …

Woman with dark hair, fancy dress and pearls with eyes closed and mouth slightly open, singing

Johanna Beyer: A Composer Forgotten

Posted by: Cait Miller

The following is a guest post by Music Cataloger Laura Yust, who recently researched composer Johanna Beyer in a seminar about American Modernist composers. Laura is pursuing her M.A. in Musicology at The Catholic University of America. Many people know of the composer Henry Cowell and his innovative compositions, but the name Johanna Magdalena Beyer …

Woman with dark hair, fancy dress and pearls with eyes closed and mouth slightly open, singing

Remembering the Schumanns’ Love Through Letters

Posted by: Cait Miller

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air! As this blog has revealed to us over the last 14 months, the Music Division holds a plethora of materials in its collections including manuscript scores, correspondence, business papers, iconography, and yes – even love letters. There’s not a romance in the history of classical composers …

Woman with dark hair, fancy dress and pearls with eyes closed and mouth slightly open, singing

From Ella to Pocahontas

Posted by: Pat Padua

Every other Friday, a new batch of photos from the William P. Gottlieb collection  is uploaded to Flickr. This week’s selection includes iconic photos of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, and  portraits of jazz greats such as Errol Garner, Benny Goodman, and Lionel Hampton. But in addition to the well-known names are intriguing  portraits of  lesser- …

Woman with dark hair, fancy dress and pearls with eyes closed and mouth slightly open, singing

The Heroine of Gettysburg

Posted by: Pat Padua

Two years ago I visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the anniversary weekend of the tragic battle. I have never been a Civil War aficionado, but to trod that consecrated ground among the Civil War reenactors and tour guides, to visit the house where Jennie Wade lived and died, was truly haunting. Remember the Battle of Gettysburg with …

Woman with dark hair, fancy dress and pearls with eyes closed and mouth slightly open, singing

Going for Baroque with Wanda Landowska

Posted by: Pat Padua

Modern music lovers with a penchant for the Baroque may assume that the much-loved timbre of the harpsichord has been popular ever since its development in the 15th century. But according to Grove Music Online, the instrument fell almost entirely out of favor by the early 19th century, owing to the emergence of the piano. …

Woman with dark hair, fancy dress and pearls with eyes closed and mouth slightly open, singing

Songs for Mother

Posted by: Pat Padua

Sunday, May 9, is Mother’s Day. My colleague on Inside Adams, the Science, Technology, and Business Blog, writes about the floral industry’s popularization of Mother’s Day here.  What better way to remember mothers living and passed away than with songs from the Music Division.  The Performing Arts Encyclopedia has over two hundred  pieces of sheet …