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Venice, the spring festival of the Palazzetto Bru Zane is dedicated to female composers
The French Romantic Music Center sheds light on the musical production of women, long forced into the shadows, with seven concerts scheduled from April 1st to May 11th
Reduced: students and under 30s, €5 – conventions €12 – groups €10
Were there any female composers in the 1800s? It is from this provocative question that the Spring Festival of the Palazzetto Bru Zane, Center of French Romantic Music in Venice.

In the seven concerts of the cycle female composers!, on the bill from 1 April to 11 May 2023, the public will be able to discover another history of music, made up not only of men, but also of a group of women who have been relegated to the shadows by the official narration and concert programming.

A story that tells of female musicians who in France between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries tried their hand at a mainly male field such as composition, obtaining important results. Thus the names and works of Hélène de Montgeroult, Louise Bertin, Louise Farrenc is Pauline Viardot, of Clemence de Grandval is Cécile Chaminade, from Mel Bonis, Augusta Holmes, Rita Strohl, Lili Boulanger and many more…

Naturally, no formal prohibition prevented women from composing, but the general context was not very favorable to the development of their musical career. Although the Paris Conservatoire was open to both sexes from its foundation (1795), girls were excluded from theoretical teachings such as harmony, counterpoint and composition until almost mid-century, and in order to compete for the Prix de Rome , a springboard for any future career, they had to wait until 1903.

Even with (private) studies completed, the obstacles remained strong for women who aspired to make their talent a profession, a path considered incompatible with social constraints, the role of wives and mothers that society attributed to them, especially if they belonged to bourgeois and aristocrats.

Apart from a few notable exceptions, the female composers therefore remained far from the most prestigious musical venues such as opera houses and concert halls, venturing into more intimate and private spaces such as living rooms. Their repertoire of choice therefore focuses on chamber music, with i piano pieces, i pieces for instrumental trios, quartets and quintets, the mélodies and the chamber works, the pedagogical literature which constitute the main items of their catalogues.

However, this does not constitute an obstacle to the creation of compositions of great value, which deserve to be rediscovered and brought to today's public in the name of their intrinsic qualities, demonstrating their great variety and perfect inclusion in the artistic panorama of the time.

There are over twenty female composers who can be heard during the meritorious festival proposed by the Palazzetto Bru Zane, to refute judgments that are as peremptory as they are objectively unsustainable, such as those of the critic and musicologist Camille Bellaigue, who wrote in 1895 “It seems that musical composition, that is great composition, is not a matter for women. Women have often been great performers, but there have never been great creators”, or the sortie of Sir Thomas Beecham, famous English conductor and composer, who as late as 1920 could state that “there are no women composers, there have not been and there never will be”.

And it will be a concert dedicated to The Belle Époque of female composers to inaugurate the Festival of spring of the Palazzetto Bru Zane – Center of French Romantic Music, the April 1, 2023 at the Great School of San Giovanni Evangelista: Pierre Fouchenneret to the violin, Lise Berthaud to viola, Yan Levionnois on the cello e Adam Laloum at the piano they will present compositions by Rita Strohl, Hélène Fleury, Charlotte Sohy, Lili Boulanger is Mel Bonis, written between 1887 and 1931 for various string ensembles with piano.

Moving to the suggestive location of the Palazzetto Bru Zane, programming continues on Sunday April 2 with the concert by Jean-Fréderic Neuburger, dedicated to piano cycle Contes fantastiques de Hoffmann – praised by Victor Hugo – of Dillon, born the young pianist, organist and writer Juliette Godillon (1823-1854);

the April 14 with Fluted notes it will be the turn of the duo formed by the flautist Juliette Hurel and the pianist Helene Couvert, which will lead to listening to music by Augusta Holmes, Mel Bonis, Clemence de Grandval, Cecile Chaminade is Lili Boulanger;

the April 18th follows Whisper, a large anthology of the most beautiful mélodies written by a large number of female composers, from Marie Foscarina Damaschino to Charlotte Sohy is Augsburg Holmes; the tenor performs them Cyrille Dubois accompanied on the piano by Tristan Raës;

the April 27 it's up to Romantic Quartet with the violinist Alexandre Pascal, the violist Léa Hennino, the cellist Héloïse Luzzati and the pianist Celia Oneto Ben Said engaged in work of Clemence de Grandval, Rita Strohl is Marie Jaëll;

the May 5th the violinist Sergei Galaktionov, the cellist Amedeo Cicchese and the pianist Linda DiCarlo they will try it The time of ambitions, proposing the trios of Louise Farrenc, Clemence de Grandval is Cécile Chaminade;

to close the festival female composers!, Thursday May 11th, the concert On the rope with the cellist Johannes Gray accompanied by the pianist Anastasia Magamedova in works of Rita Strohl, Henriette Renie is Marie Jaëll.

Finally, they complete the program there conference Zitelle e putte, the surprising protagonists of Venetian music proposed by Valeria Palumbo the April 4th it's a exhibition of period illustrations on the ground floor of Casino Zane. To anticipate the review, the presentation with concert of March 23 in the company of Duo Luperca on cello and piano.  

The program

April 1, 2023 (7.30 pm) Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista
The Belle Époque of female composers
Works for strings and piano by STROHL, FLEURY, SOHY, L. BOULANGER and BONIS
Pierre Fouchenneret violin – Lise Berthaud Violet
Yan Levionnois cello -:Adam Laloum piano

April 2, 2023 (5.00 pm) Palazzetto Bru Zane
Fantastic tales
Contes fantastiques by DILLON
Jean-Fréderic Neuburger piano

April 14, 2023 (7.30 pm) Palazzetto Bru Zane
Fluted notes
Works for flute and piano by HOLMÈS, BONIS, GRANDVAL, CHAMINADE and L. BOULANGER
Juliette Hurel flute  – Helene Couvert piano

April 18, 2023 (7.30 pm) Palazzetto Bru Zane
Cyrille Dubois tenor  – Tristan Raes piano

April 27, 2023 (7.30 pm) Palazzetto Bru Zane
Romantic Quartet
Works for piano quartet by STROHL and JAËLL
Alexandre Pascal violin – Léa Hennino Violet
Héloïse Luzzati cello – Celia Oneto Bensaid piano

May 5, 2023 (7.30 pm) Palazzetto Bru Zane
The time of ambitions
Works for piano trio by FARRENC, GRANDVAL and CHAMINADE
Sergei Galaktionov violin – Amedeo Cicchese cello Linda DiCarlo piano

May 11, 2023 (7.30 pm) Palazzetto Bru Zane
On the rope
Works for cello and piano by STROHL, RENIÉ and JAËLL
Johannes Gray cello – Anastasia Magamedova piano

Ticket office

Reduced: students and under 30s, €5 – conventions €12 – groups €10

There is more

The box set is released on the occasion of the festival composers. New light on French Romantic women composers for Bru Zane Label including 8 CDs, featuring works by twenty-one female composers (out March 10)

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