The collection’s introductory chapter situates the eight composers featured in this volume and their music in the twentieth-century environment of the female composer. The authors contrast the proliferation of compositional activity by contemporary women with the low representation of their music in creative and scholarly forums, arguing that a rich and varied repertoire remains to be discovered by scholars, performers, and listeners. Exploration of the links among the eight composers leads to consideration of the controversial question of whether there can be a distinctively female compositional voice. The chapter concludes with an invitation to scholars to contribute to a new phase of analytical discourse in which the compositions of women are regularly and proportionately included, and the label “woman composer” becomes obsolete.
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