International Women’s Day: Guitarists and Lutenists

Happy International Women’s Day!

CELEBRATING some of the very inspiring women working in music

Starting with the Argentinian lutenist and guitarist Evangelina Mascardi. Here she is performing

JS Bach’s Suite in G minor, BWV 995 on lute:

Il Fronimo logoAlthough she was born in Buenos Aires, she has remained living and working in Europe, since she came to study with Hopkinson Smith at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Evangelina Mascardi teaches lute at the Conservatorio Antonio Vivaldi in Alessandria, Italy.

And while we are in Italy, congratulations to Lena Kokkaliari on publishing the 200th issue of the Italian quarterly guitar journal Il FronimoIl Fronimo 200. Established in 1972, by Ruggiero Chiesa (1933–1993), Il Fronimo presents academic research and scholarship, interviews, book and recording reviews, and course and events listings, all well edited by Lena Kokkaliari. For details of this special issue no. 200. For subscriptions and access to past issues dating back to 1972, visit

The International Concert Diary has some special concerts this month featuring works by women composers. Please pay particular attention to Laura Snowden’s online concert and Q&A on Friday 10 March 2023, as it is also a fundraising event for her forthcoming recording.

Thursday 9 March 2023AdelaideKARIN SCHAUPP and FLINDERS QUARTET. Adelaide Town Hall, 7.30pm. Tickets.

Clonmel, TipperaryELEANOR KELLY. Música Latina at Finding a Voice Festival, 7pm. Tickets.

Friday 10 March 2023New YorkXUEFEI YANG. Tenri Cultural Institute, 43A West 13th Street, NY 10011, 7.30pm. Tickets.

OnlineLAURA SNOWDEN. Livestream concert and Q&A, 7pm (GMT). Tickets and donations. NB: This concert and Q&A is a fundraiser concert for her debut recording. Available from 10 March for one week.

Saturday 11 March 2023San Francisco, CAJIJI. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, CA 94102, 7.30pm. Tickets.

Thursday 16 March 2023ViennaANTONIA HASLINGER. Hofburgkapelle, 7.30pm. Tickets. (Works by Obrovská, Gubaidulina, Presti, Snowden, Pratten, Kavanagh, Kruisbrink, Malischnig and Montero)

Sunday 19 March 2023Heswall, WirralELEANOR KELLY. Heswall United Reform Church, Telegraph Road, CH60 7SE, 3pm. Free entry.(Music by Violeta Parra, María Luisa Anido, Clarice Assad, Chiquinha Gonzaga).

CONGRATULATIONS TO BERTA ROJAS for winning a LATIN GRAMMY for the Best Classical Album & Winner Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her album Legado, (Legacy) in homage to two important twentieth-century classical guitarists Ida Presti (1924–1967) and Maria Luisa Anido (1907–1996). As well as music composed by Ida Presti and María Luisa Anido, Berta Rojas has included Idylle pour Ida (Hommage à Ida Presti), Op. 93 by John W. Duarte, Prelude No. 1 ‘Tombeau’ by Gilbert Biberian and the four-movement Anido’s Portrait by Sérgio Assad, written especially for this recording.

Raphaëlla Smits, who gave us one of the most deeply moving concerts during lockdown, at Drongen Abbey (YouTube), has released a new album Che Argentina, with music by Jorge Morel, María Luisa Anido, Ariel Ramírez, Juan Falú, Eduardo Falú and José Luis Merlin, recorded on her eight-string John Gilbert guitar

This week BBC Radio 3, is featuring the work of Austrian composer Johanna Müler-Hermann (1868–1941) in their Composer of the Week series, presented by Donald MacLeod. The five-day series of one-hour programmes for this week can be listened to for the next month: click for details. Johanna Müler-Hermann is the fifth of the women composers who have been featured in the Composer of the Week programme, as part of Radio 3’s Forgotten Women Composers project, in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Dr Carola Darwin. The composers explored in this project have been: Marianna Martines (1744–1813), Augusta Holmès (1847–1903), Leokadiya Kashperova (1872–1940), Johanna Müller-Hermann (1868–1941) and Florence B. Price (1887–1953). See BBC Radio 3 The Women Erased from Musical History.

Leah Broad Quartet-448x690

Leah Broad has just published Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World with Faber, which presents the biographies of four women musicians: composer Ethel Smyth (1858–1944); composer and violist and composer Rebecca Clarke (1886–1979); composer Dorothy Howell (1898–1982); and film composer Doreen Carwithen (1922–2003).

(Quartet: Amazon affiliate link)

Leah Broad is a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford University, she specialises in twentieth-century music. She was a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers (2016) and won the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism (2015).

There really are so many more International Women’s Day events to mention. Please feel free to add to my list, using the Comment Box.

© Thérèse Wassily Saba 2023

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