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Vive la Différence
String Quartets by 5 Women

Lucie Vellère (1896-1966), a native of Brussels, began studies in solfège and piano with her father at the age of six, and later studied violin with Emile Chaumont, harmony with Paul Miry, and composition with Joseph Jongen. Her output of approximately 100 works spans a period of 48 years. Most of her compositions are for voice, solo instruments, and chamber ensembles, although she also wrote for chorus and for orchestra. She worked independently of the modernistic schools and fashions of her time, preferring to express her individuality through a fairly traditional style. Among the prizes she won are the 1957 "Prix du Brabant" and an award from the American Section of the International Council for Women.

Sarah Aderholdt (b.1955), a native of North Carolina, received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in music from the University of North Carolina and her PhD from the University of Minnesota. She also studied at the Swiss Center for Computer Music. A freelance composer for many years in Minnesota, where she was active in the Minnesota Composers Forum, Ms. Aderholdt was recently an artist in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts outside San Francisco. She now resides near Washington, D.C. Her works have been performed throughout the USA and in Switzerland, Germany, and Poland. Writing primarily chamber music, Aderholdt's work often combines acoustic instruments with amplified voices, nature sounds, and electronically produced sounds.

Ruth Schonthal (1924-2006), composer and pianist, was born in Hamburg, Germany, of Viennese parents. She was accepted as the youngest pupil ever at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin at age five. When she was 13, she entered the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, and after moving to Mexico City, studied composition with Manuel Ponce. In 1946, her talents came to the attention of Paul Hindemith, who invited her to study composition as a scholarship student at Yale University. Schonthal's works have been performed by the Orchestra Nacional de la Universidad de Mexico, the Israel Philharmonic, New Orchestra of Westchester, Baltimore Women's Symphony, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Ridgefield Symphony, and many other groups. A biography with analysis of works has been prepared for publication in Berlin by musicologist Martina Helmig. Schonthal was on the faculty of New York University and the Westchester Conservatory of Music. Her compositions display a unique blend of her deeply rooted European tradition, depth of feeling, and mastery of contemporary techniques.

Amy Beach (1867-1944), who signed her music Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, was a member of the Second New England School of composers. Although strongly influenced by German late Romantic music, she also was among the composers who experimented with the fusion of folk and art music in a search for an American national style, a fact that has only recently been acknowledged. From 1892 almost to her death, Beach quoted, in about thirty compositions, melodies from Irish, Scottish, African American, Native American, and European sources. Franz Boas's The Central Eskimo, published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1888, provided Beach with melodies she used in three works, including the String Quartet in One Movement, Op. 89.

Priaulx Rainier (1903-1986) was born at Howick, Natal, South Africa, of English-Huguenot parents. Her early childhood was spent in a remote part of the country near Zululand, where the liquid language and music of the indigenous people, the sounds of wild animals and the calls of the birds were to prove a lasting influence. She entered the South African College of Music as a violin student at the age of ten, and in 1920 entered the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she settled permanently. Necessity required her to earn her living as a violinist. After a serious car accident in 1935, she turned exclusively to composition, aided by a grant and with the encouragement of composer Sir Arnold Bax. She studied briefly with Boulanger in Paris on a scholarship before the outbreak of World War II. In 1942 Priaulx Rainer was appointed a Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, a post she held until 1961. Rainier's numerous honors include commissions from the BBC, Peter Pears, and Yehudi Menuhin. The BBC broadcast a retrospective concert featuring her chamber works in 1973, and in 1976 recorded and broadcast her complete chamber music.




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