Music: A Matter of Art, Not Sex

Nearly 50 years ago, Virginia Woolf compared the situation of a woman composer to that of an actress in Shakespeare's day — hopeless. Among the popular theories offered to explain the mysterious absence of eminent women composers was the biological: men compose symphonies, women compose babies. Sociologists point out that little girls are mostly encouraged to confine their talents to parlor piano playing. Though women have always been accepted as soloists, only in recent years have many conservatories trained women as composers. "Think of the thousands and thousands of men who have studied...

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