Women of Note at St. Paul’s Hill House!

Here are some of my favorite things:

  • Chamber music
  • Female composers
  • the Minnesota Orchestra
  • Minnesota history
  • Architecture
  • the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul
  • Post-concert refreshments

Lucky for me, all of those passions are combining in a single project this season. The Hill House Chamber Players are devoting their 2016/2017 season to spotlighting works by women, and they invited me to give a pre-concert talk before every show.

The Hill House Chamber Players consist of some of the area’s most talented musicians, including some Minnesota Orchestra players. Together they perform in the James J. Hill House gallery, which used to be lined with art now at Mia. (I once heard a rumor that Jules Breton’s painting The Song of the Lark – which Willa Cather featured in her novel by the same name – hung in the Hill House gallery for a while, but I’ve never been able to prove or disprove that…) It’s a very cozy and intimate venue, and I’m really looking forward to chatting with audiences there.

Here’s the schedule:

October 10 & 17, 2016

  • Amy Beach: Quintet for Piano and Strings in F-sharp minor, Op 67
  • Judith Lang Zaimont: Calendar Collection for Solo Piano (excerpts)
  • Robert Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Opus 44

March 6 & 13, 2017

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, K.493
  • Rebecca Clarke: Viola Sonata
  • Clara Wieck Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor, Op 17

May 1 & 8, 2017

  • Lili Boulanger: Two Morceaux: Nocturne and Cortege
  • Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel: Piano Trio in D minor, Op 11
  • Gabriel Faure: Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op 15

For more information on the season, and for pricing, click here!

I want to thank the HHCP for having the guts to commit so wholeheartedly to their theme. When was the last time you heard of a chamber music series season that consists of two-thirds female composers?

It’s a little early to know for sure, but it feels like works by women are gaining ground locally this year. Not only are the HHCPs committing wholeheartedly, but The Musical Offering is presenting works by Elsa Barraine and Lili Boulanger as part of their broader 2016/2017 theme of “Emigrés and Mentors.” If you have more examples of recent or upcoming local concerts featuring the work of women, please post in the comments!

I’m optimistic that one of these decades, works by women might even show up in a meaningful way at a big-budget organization like the Minnesota Orchestra. But until they do, support your local chamber music scene. Inevitably, chamber music is where innovation starts.

I look forward to seeing you guys at the Hill House!


Filed under Women In Music

7 responses to “Women of Note at St. Paul’s Hill House!

  1. Hello Emily. You will be interested to know that the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is performing “Within Her Arms” by Anna Clyne, plus premieres of short commissioned pieces for the orchestra’s 100th anniversary by Caroline Shaw and T. J. Cole.

  2. Jan Scholl

    While this isn’t chamber music, The Encore Wind Ensemble is performing Dream Machine, by local composer, Katherine Bergman, on its 20th anniversary concert on Sunday, Oct. 23, 3:00 PM at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi. Encore frequently features contemporary composers, often they are women. Dream Machine was premiered last year by the Gusatvus Wind Orchestra and is a hypnotic work featuring undulating colors and creative orchestration. All are invited to attend this performance!

  3. Tom Foley

    Hi Emily, are you aware of “WomensPerformHers,” a St. Paul Chamber group that performs women’s work exclusively, and have been doing so for a number of years. Can’t give you much more info than that, but they’re around if you “keep your ears open,” ha ha, so to speak.

  4. bratschegirl

    Hi, Emily! The Peninsula Symphony (an excellent community orchestra in the San Francisco Bay Area) is presenting works by living female composers on every main program this season: “Early Light” by Carolyn Bremer, Suite for Orchestra by Gwyneth Walker, “Masquerade” by Anna Clyne, and “Transit of Venus” by Nancy Bloomer Deussen. Afraid it’s not exactly in your back yard, but all your local fans are encouraged to come!

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