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Women of Influence in Contemporary Music Nine American Composers
978-0-8108-7742-9 • Hardback
December 2010 • $75.00 • (£44.95)
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978-0-8108-7748-1 • eBook
December 2010 • $74.99 • (£44.95)

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Pages: 494
Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
Edited by Michael K. Slayton
Music | Genres & Styles / Classical
Scarecrow Press
In Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers, Michael K. Slayton has collected essays, which focus on women who have made significant contributions to American music: Elizabeth Austin, Susan Botti, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Cindy McTee, Marga Richter, and Judith Shatin. While these composers have much in common, not least of all dedication to their art, their individual stories reveal different impulses in American music. Their works reflect the shifting societal landscapes in the United States over the last seven decades, as well as different stylistic approaches to writing music.

Each chapter includes a biography of the composer, an interview, and a detailed analysis of one major composition. The composers openly reflect on their individual journeys, in which they have discovered respective musical languages and have found success during different times in history. Because few music books focus solely on female composers,
Women of Influence in Contemporary Music offers a rare glimpse into the styles and attitudes of gifted women and their work.
Michael K. Slayton is associate professor and chair of the Department of Music Composition and Theory at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music.
Slayton (Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt Univ.) has assembled extensive and exciting materials on nine significant American composers. For each—Elizabeth Austin, Susan Botti, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Tania León, Cindy McTee, Marga Richter, and Judith Shatin—he provides an essay (he contributes two of the nine), a transcribed interview, analysis of a work, a "coda," notes, a list of works, and a discography. Those interested in researching any of these women will find that the materials gathered offer a good first step in a larger research construct. The "conversations" (i.e., interviews) shed light on biographical and aesthetic issues specific to the composer and simultaneously demonstrate her sense of humor. For example, speaking about her earliest musical experiences, McTee says, "In high school I played piano for the choir, and even when we sang Brahms, I continued to improvise—much to the director's displeasure. I was presumptuous enough to think I knew better than Brahms! Now, of course, I hope those who play my music will have greater respect for what's on the page than I did." Karin Pendle's foreword—"Who Are These Women?"—is one of the best features of the volume. Summing Up: Recommended

The valuable in-depth analyses of major works will perhaps best serve students and academics.... In addition to fulfilling the editor Michael K. Slayton's hope that the book function as a much-needed, alternative, and complementary treatment of the topic, it will undoubtedly act as catalyst for further reading and research.
Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association