Maybe I can't really recognize in the intricate play of avatars and nicknames every girl, but it seems that female composers are a very rare animal in the community.
I'm not machist at all, and I'm continously wondering, after hearing the nice music that some girl friend of mine played and wrote, why composing seems still a nearly male activity (while for instance female performers and soloist are a lot and playing at excellent level, frequently better than men...).
I have wondered about this myself. I don't know any female composers--I'm sure there are some good ones I don't know about.
There's some female composers in jazz, many female songsmiths in pop music, blues was mainly male-dominated, although there were many great female singers and some songwriters.
Is there a great female composer? You have Wendy Carlos, but, well
I didn't really grow up in the music "system" so I don't know if there is a bias against women in academia or what.
And why would females not be as drawn to composing as males?
It is a strange trend, but it's certainly not because a lack of skill. There are still some great female composers. If you go to the library and look up a few books and cd's, you'll find a good amount. They don't tend to be too famous, however. Mozart's sister composed a few pieces, but whatever happened to her? DPDAN posted some music by Clara Schumann . . .
And then on the forum we've got Danielle Nicole Davis, who is awesome! I wonder where she is?
The ONE female composer who immediately came to mind is Rachel Portman, who is also the first female composer to win an Oscar. According to the bio information on imdb.com she:
1] composed the music to a successful student film ("Privileged") which also starred fellow Oxford student Hugh Grant.
2] chooses not to conduct her music, and
3] composed an opera, "The Little Prince" which was premiered by the Houston Grand Opera in May 2003.
Oddly enough, unlike most women writers, she doesn't style herself with a three-part name!
Her screen (TV and film) music credits include some 70 credits (see her IMDB.com page), including: "Ethan Frome", "Benny & Joon", "The Joy Luick Club", "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar", "Emma", "Marvin's Room", "The Cider House Rules", "Chocolat", "Nicholas Nickleby", "The Human Stain", "Mona Lisa Smile" and "The Manchurian Candidate (2004)". (I have seen all but 2 of these and was really quite impressed with the score -- by a man or a woman!)
My wife started composing before I did. She's actually a really good composer. But then she never composes anything???
I'd like to hear from some female composers if they feel intimidated in a male dominated field? I'd like to find out what's going on because I'd like to fix it.
I know my agent once made a crack about a female composer. I was actually quite shocked as I never ever considered gender to be an issue when it came to composers. Then I looked around and I found that there where only a few composers in Hollywood that where women. Do female Hollywood composers feel like they're not taken seriously by agents and film makers? Let me know.
On a serious note, I have thought about the intimidation factor. At this point, I'm not intimidated, but who knows - that may change. Maybe there are so few because of cultural factors or upbringing. Not sure. I'll go ponder. Good topic though