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Spring Concert 2022

                     conductor:  Joost Geevers  

Sun 20 March, 2022   3:00 p.m.       MCO, Hilversum

Valentina Tóth performs as pianist, singer and actress

Homage to female composers

  • Hildegard van Bingen

  • Clara Schumann

  • Louise Farrenc

  • Fanny Mendelssohn

Is composing music a man's job?  Ridiculous!  But music lovers often find it difficult to name female composers.  The GSO believes that that must change.

Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, Louise Farrenc en Hildegard van Bingen are the four composers of music for this concert in the MCO building in Hilversum.  Singer-actress-pianist Valentina Tóth is the presentor and soloist for this concert.  


Hildegard van Bingen of medieval times is considered to be the first female composer in history who got credit for her works by name, but during her life she was known merely as mother-superior of a convent.  The other three women, from the 19th century, were also famous as musicians in their own right, although they were not really known for their compositions.  Schumann was a famous virtuoso pianist.  Mendelssohn was lauded as a prodigy alongside her brother, Felix, but was forbidden by her father to make music her profession.  Farrenc's made her carreer teaching piano at the Paris Conservatory.  The works of these composers received little attention and did little more than collect dust for decades.  It wasn't until the late 20th century that serious attention was given to the works of female composers.

In practice the works of female composers tend to be limited to chamber music or pieces for choir.  That being the case, it was challenging for the GSO to find works of female composers for symphony orchestra.  Conductor Joost Geevers worked closely with soloist Valentina Tóth to come up with a "theatre programme" with a variety of themes.  During the concert Valentina will read text from letters and diaries of the composers, and she will sing a couple of songs in addition to playing the solo part in Clara Schumann's piano concerto.

... Philip Smet

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