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Women of Note: The Rise of Australian Women Composers

Written by Rosalind Appleby


In the early twentieth century being a female composer was a dangerous game; one composer was diagnosed as mentally insane by her psychiatrist husband, several achieved success only after their divorces and often the only way to get their music published was to lie about their gender. Still, the allure of writing music enticed women from all walks of life, and from the convent and the nappy-change table women began to compose.

Music journalist Rosalind Appleby takes a fresh look at Australia’s history and makes some startling discoveries about the contribution of women to Australian classical music. Women of Note puts together the missing pieces of history with well-researched snapshots of twenty women composers spanning the twentieth century to present day.

‘Skilfully balancing information about the careers of featured composers with insightful information about their music this is a rewarding, timely read. VERDICT: FASCINATING AND INFORMATIVECourier Mail

‘… an important resource.’ The Weekend Australian

‘This volume is not only important but comforting.’ Quadrant

‘This much-welcomed book profiles those women, largely unacknowledged, who stand as the major landmarks in the Australian musical landscape.’ John Davis, CEO Australian Music Centre, President International Society for Contemporary Music

‘… the product of thorough research expressed in engaging writing that is enlightening without being didactic. Appleby is to be congratulated, along with the West Australian Department of Culture and the Arts and Fremantle Press, which were insightful enough to consider this project ‘worth the effort’.’ Australian Book Review

ISBN 9781921888762 (Hardback)
Formats C Format (234 x 153mm) (Hardback)
Categories Sport, Travel & Entertainment
Current Affairs, Culture & Social History
Autobiography, Biography & Memoir
Pages 184
Publication Year 2012
Edition 1st
Publisher Fremantle Press
  • Rosalind appleby

    Rosalind Appleby

    Rosalind Appleby graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Music Performance (clarinet). She writes regular music reviews and feature articles covering a wide range of jazz, world and classical music. She has contributed to a variety of national and international publications including London’s Financial Times, Limelight magazine, the Australian, Scoop magazine, Music Forum Journal, Resonate magazine and The Opera Critic. She is a music critic for the West Australian newspaper and is the Western Australian correspondent for the prestigious Opera magazine (London). For several years she produced and broadcast Difficult Listening for community radio. Read more