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Solo piano works by 7 American women

Ruth Schonthal (1924-2006), composer and pianist, was on the faculty of New York University and the Westchester Conservatory of Music. She began composing at age five, becoming the youngest student ever accepted at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. As the family had to leave Germany, she continued music studies at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, where at the age of 13 she had her first Sonatina published. From there, the family moved to Mexico City where Schonthal studied with Manuel Ponce and premiered her own Piano Concerto at the Palacia de Bellas Artes. At that time she met Paul Hindemith, who obtained a scholarship for her to study with him at Yale.

Schonthal was a finalist in the Kennedy Center Friedheim Competition with the work heard here, and she was a finalist in the New York City Opera competition with her opera Camilla. In 1994 she received the International Heidelberger Künstlerinnen Prize. A German biography by Dr. Martina Helmig, Ruth Schonthal, ein Werdegang im Exil (The Development of a Composer in Exile) will be published in English. FURORE Verlag in Kassel, Germany, is in the process of publishing her complete output and will act as distributor for her works published by seven other publishers. Schonthal's compositions display a unique blend of her deeply rooted European tradition, depth of feeling, and mastery of contemporary techniques.

Sheila Silver (b. 1946) is a versatile composer on the faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She studied in Germany with Erhard Karkoschka and Gyorgy Ligeti after graduation from the University of California at Berkeley, and received her doctorate from Brandeis University. She is a Rome Prize winner (1979) and has had numerous prizes and awards including the American Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters Composer Award, and NEA, Cary Foundation, and Barlow Foundation grants. Silver has written a large body of chamber, solo, and choral music as well as an opera and feature film music. Silver's compositions have commissioned and performed by numerous groups throughout the USA and Europe, among them the Los Angeles Philharmonic, RAI Orchestra of Rome, American Composers Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Muir Quartet, and Ying Quartet.

Diane Thome (b.1942) is Professor and Chair of the Composition Program at the University of Washington's School of Music. Composer of a wide variety of works that span solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, and electronic media, Thome is the first woman to write computer-synthesized music. Her compositions have been presented in Europe, China, Australia, Israel, Canada, and throughout the USA. She has been a guest of the Ecole Nationale Claude Debussy and featured on French radio, and composer-in-residence at the University of Sussex, Bennington Chamber Music Conference and Composers Forum of the East. Recent awards include 1994 Washington Composer of the Year, 1995-96 Solomon Katz Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, and a 1998 International Computer Music Conference Commission. Thome holds a Ph.D. and M.F.A. in Composition from Princeton and a M.A. in Theory and Composition from the University of Pennsylvania.

Stefania de Kenessey (b.1961) writes music that moves beyond the postmodern categories of our age (such as minimalism, mysticism, neo-romanticism, eclecticism, and so forth) by celebrating both beauty and craft as universal values. Tuneful and sophisticated, her idiom fuses tradition with innovation, Eastern modes with Western forms. De Kenessey is the founder and artistic director of The Derriere Guard, an alliance of traditionalist contemporary artists, architects, poets, and composers. She is active as a composer in all instrumental and vocal genres. Her work, honored repeatedly by ASCAP, can be heard regularly in recitals and on radio. A native of Budapest, de Kenessey was educated at Yale and Princeton Universities, receiving her doctorate under the tutelage of Milton Babbitt. She is a professor of music at the New School's Eugene Lang College in New York City.

Vivian Adelberg Rudow (b.1936), a Baltimore-based composer, conductor, concert producer, and pianist, received a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University. She was the first Maryland composer to receive an orchestral performance in Baltimore's Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore Symphony, 1982). Rudow's awards include First Prize in the 1986 14th International Electroacoustic Music Competition, program division (Bourges, France), two Baltimore CityArts Awards; the Maryland State Arts Council Fellowship; and ASCAP awards each year since 1987. Rudow's music has been performed in Asia, Cuba, Europe, Eastern Europe, Puerto Rico and the United States. Writing in genres ranging from electronic, solo instrument, and chamber, to full orchestra, Rudow is a "Sound Portrait Painter," creating sound canvases of life. She uses music to express lives and feelings of people using musical language they can understand.

Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee (b.1938), a first generation Armenian-American, began early piano studies in Boston and continued her education at the Juilliard School and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. At age 40, she began composing more seriously, and has since produced a large body of works for solo piano, orchestra, ensemble, percussion, voice, and various instrumental concerti. Her music has been performed internationally to critical acclaim. Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee's music reflects her background in its mixture of ethnic influences and formal Western musical training. Her pianistic writing follows a style of the traditional keyboard repertoire using an idiom akin to Prokofieff, Scriabin, and Khachaturian. Her neo-tonal musical language is wed to a strong sense of rhythmic drive, creating highly communicative and effective concert pieces.

Emma Lou Diemer (b.1927), composer and keyboard performer, is a native of Kansas City, Missouri. She received her composition degrees from Yale and Eastman, with further study on a Fulbright Scholarship in Belgium and at Tanglewood. Diemer is Professor Emerita of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she taught composition from 1971 to 1991. She was composer-in-residence with the Santa Barbara Symphony from 1990-92. Awards have included a 1992 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for her piano concerto, an NEA fellowship in electronic music, and ASCAP awards received annually since 1962. She was the American Guild of Organists 1995 Composer of the Year.




Links to alphabetical list of composers
Bios and links to their recordings at this site

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