David Kim paused after playing a few exquisite bars of music on his Italian violin. The concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra seemed concerned that his instrument may be echoing too loudly across the sweeping multistory lobby of the Kimmel Center, where other people were working or visiting. This moment during our Pepper interview showcased both Kim’s humble nature and his concern for others – along with his extraordinary talent.
Emmy-winning classical composer Julie Giroux says she didn’t know about any women composers when she was studying music, and when she first entered the field she didn’t meet any, either. Unfortunately, she is not alone in this experience. It’s only in the last few decades that women composers have begun to be recognized in some of the music industry’s top areas.
Quietly, in places ranging from convents to conservatories to farms, extraordinary women have written innovative music without the benefit of fame. Historical archives hint at the challenges they have faced. Critics called composer Ethel Smyth a “little woman” with “utterly unfeminine” works, and Florence Price echoed the concerns of other minority women when she penned in a famous letter: “To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race.”
J.W. Pepper® Documents the Replication of a Historical Masterpiece
It has taken more than a year of painstakingly detailed work for Conservator John Watson to get closer to his goal of re-creating a piece of history. The Associate Curator of Musical Instruments for Colonial Williamsburg is fashioning a replica of a harpsichord George Washington purchased in 1793 for his teenage step-granddaughter Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Curtis. Unlike the original, the reproduction will be playable, giving music historians a chance to hear its unique sound.
“The Washington family harpsichord was extremely special,” said Temple University Music Professor Dr. Joyce Zankel Lindorff. “It was one of the fanciest instruments ever made.” Continue Reading…