On May 8th, CYM started posting our #WomanCrushWednesdays, celebrating the lives and achievements of numerous women who have made an impact in the music world. So far, we’ve highlighted 12 incredible women on our social media pages. Since it has been been met with such an amazing amount of support, we thought we would share some of the women we’ve highlighted so far the past couple of months.
But there’s one more thing, we want to hear from YOU! Who’s your #WCW? Who should we write about next? Be sure to write in the comments who you want to see as our #WCW in the future!
One of the most prominent composers, conductors, and educators of the 20th century. She studied with Charles Marie Widor and Gabriel Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 10, and studied organ privately. She won top prizes across Europe in composition, and recorded many little known organ works. She is best known for teaching composition to some of the great composers of the 20th century- Copland, Quincy Jones, Denoe Leedy, Walter Piston, George Peter Tingley, Roy Harris, Virgil Thomson, Michel Legrand, Joe Raposo, Philip Glass, Robert Shafer, and Elliott Carter. Her legacy has extended to shape and establish classical music in America.
Hailed as one of the greatest Indian classical soloists of our time, she has released 11 albums, been rewarded numerous Grammy nominations, and has collaborated with leaders in music across many cultures and genres. Her body of work increasingly reflects her passion for women’s rights and social justice around the world, connecting a large scope of demographics through her music. Nitin Sawhney wrote, “no one embodies the spirit of innovation and experimentation more evidently than Anoushka Shankar.”
An 18-time Grammy Award winner, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts, and the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the accolades spanning her 50-year career are endless. Her gospel-voice and songs “Respect” and “Natural Woman” were anthems for social change and civil rights. Her cultural and musical contributions will live on forever!
Martha Argerich is a legendary pianist and a highly celebrated classical musician for the last 60 years. A Deusche Grammaphon artist and recipient of many awards, Argerich made her professional debut at the age of 8. Early in her youth, she won elite competitions, the Geneva International Music Competition, the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition and the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, championed for her technical proficiency and emotional depth. She has toured around the world, and has performed with many notorious musicians including Gidon Kremer, Alexandre Rabinovitch, Nelson Freire, Mstislav Rostropovich, Mischa Maisky. Her latest release was 2018 album “Prokofiev for Two,” recorded with Sergei Babayan.
“Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums. Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella). She performed at top venues all over the world, and packed them to the hilt. Her audiences were as diverse as her vocal range. They were rich and poor, made up of all races, all religions and all nationalities. In fact, many of them had just one binding factor in common – they all loved her.”
Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance.” Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound, discovering and weaving together new modes of perception. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words.” -bio and photo from meredithmonk.org
Did you know Christina Aguilera was raised in the same town as CYM’s main location, Wexford, Pennsylvania? The breakout star has earned 5 Grammy awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her singing and songwriting, and is one of the world’s best-selling artists. She lists Etta James, Billie Holiday, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and Ella Fitzgerald as some of her biggest vocal influences. Today, in addition to continue producing studio albums, she serves as a judge on the popular competition “The Voice.”
Performing both contemporary and classic music around the world, Hahn has already recorded a number of albums and have over 1500 live performances before turning 40! A graduate of the Curtis Institute, she began studying one month before her 4th birthday, starting with #Suzuki training. In addition to premiering works alongside the greatest orchestras and conductors, Hahn expresses a special love for Bach, claiming she has played his music every day since the age of 8.
She has received commissions from renowned ensembles and has conducted orchestras around the world. A founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, León instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series, co-founded the Sonidos de las Américas festivals with the American Composers Orchestra, and served as Latin American Advisor to the American Composers Orchestra and New Music Advisor to the New York Philharmonic. She is the founder and artistic director of Composers Now Festival and the Composers Now organization, “a nonprofit in New York City founded in 2010 and dedicated to empowering all living composers, while celebrating the diversity of their voices and honoring the significance of their contributions to the cultural fabric of society.”
Jacqueline du Pre
Launched into international stardom at just age 20, she is noted as one of the greatest cellists and soloists of the 20th century despite her untimely death at age 42. Her first teacher was her mother, a music educator, and she later studied with legendary cellists Pablo Casals and Mstislav Rostropovich. Her recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto launched the then little known piece into the standard repertoire. Though her career was sadly cut short by multiple schlerosis, her emotive, energetic style has inspired countless musicians for many decades to come.
With music that combines R&B, soul, hip-hop, rap, and flute elements, her charismatic, positive and often humorous music gets everyone on their feet. Lizzo began flute in 6th grade, and short after formed her first rap group. After studying flute performance at the University of Houston and dealing with the passing of the father, she decided to take a new path in the indie scene of Minneapolis. Her first album launched her to national success, and for the last few years she has been dancing and singing her way around the world, flute in hand. She is currently on tour with her new album, “Cuz I Love You,” and serves as an icon of body positivity and diversity for the next generation.
A vocalist known for her remarkable range and musical intensity. Beginning piano at age 7, it wasn’t long until she proved to have an impressive voice. After many rejections and struggling to find work, she debuted in a performance of “La Giocanda” in Italy, and gained notoriety over the next few years by working in Florence. Nicknamed nicknamed “The Tigress,” Callas was fiercely resilient and said of audience members’ jeers, “Hissing from the gallery is part of the scene. It is a hazard of the battlefield. Opera is a battlefield, and it must be accepted.” Her American debut in opera “Norma” established her as a magnanimous force in classical music. Her influence continues to inspire today as one of the greatest vocalists of all time.
Be sure to follow us on social media so you can find out who the next #WomanCrushWednesday will be!