Six major women pianists: Clara Schumann, Teresa Carreno, Myra Hess, Clara Haskil, Alicia de Larrocha, and Martha Argerich
Citron, Marcia J.
Doctor of Musical Arts
The six artists presented in this paper hold important places in the world of the performing arts. Their outstanding talent and perseverance have brought them world recognition. Clara Schumann, the pioneer of women pianists, performed throughout her life, receiving an enthusiastic reception by the public. Living in an era when women performers were scarce, Clara Schumann was accepted on an equal basis to any male artist. Teresa Carreno, known for her extremely passionate and bravura playing especially in her youth, captivated her audiences wherever she went. Despite a tumultuous personal life, Carreno enjoyed tremendous success in her own life time. Myra Hess led a blossoming career in England and on the Continent before having a grand success in the United States. She led the National Gallery Concerts during World War II, which brought about much appreciation from her countrymen. Clara Haskil's life was filled with ill health and World War II made it difficult for her to gain recognition; she only launched a career in her 50s. By then, she performed with the best of orchestras and conductors, enjoying the success due her much earlier in her life. Alicia de Larrocha, known as the Queen of Spanish Music, has performed widely since the late 1960s. She has been invited to perform much of Mozart's output besides the Spanish repertoire. Despite her success on stage, she has had to battle her personal feelings regarding the balance between a career and family. Martha Argerich's thundering excitement and devilish technical capabilities keep her at the height of her profession, yet she has had ambiguous feelings toward her career. She limits her appearances, yet her powerful magnetism overwhelms the audience and keeps them asking for more. By many standards, women pianists' careers have evolved to a high level of social acceptance. However, today, as in the nineteenth century, many obstacles remain, and women in pursuit of a concert career are faced with the same competing---and often irreconcilable---challenges. These six pianists have risen above the challenges facing them as women artists and their names have been firmly planted in the history of piano performance.
Biographies; Music; Women's studies