Sister Bay, Wis. (June 14, 2023) – Midsummer’s Music is a leader among chamber music organizations in presenting works by lesser-known composers—especially composers of color and female composers. Too long denied sufficient hearings, the three women in Midsummer’s “Women to be Heard” program present contrasting styles and convincingly moving musical statements, full of power and élan, demanding that they be heard.
In 1944 at the age of 55, German composer Ilse Fromm-Michaels wrote Musica Larga, a quintet for clarinet and strings, near the end of World War II and the death of her husband, a judge of Jewish descent. When the Nazis instituted the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935, she was banned from performing or publishing her compositions. She continued teaching music, however, and after World War II established the Hamburg First School of Music and Drama.
Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was Felix Mendelssohn’s older sister – by four years – and a famed pianist. She composed more than 450 works of music. When she was 14 years old, her grandfather, Moses Mendelssohn, a renowned Jewish philosopher, wrote to her, “Music will perhaps become [Felix’s] profession, while for you it can and must be only an ornament.” She initially published pieces under Felix’s name and later in life began publishing in her own name, yet most of her compositions remained unpublished until the late 20th century. Her Quartet in F-flat Major began in 1829 as an unfinished sonata in E-flat, but she rescored it several years later as a string quartet—and consequently defined her role in chamber music.
Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1868, Johanna Müller-Hermann was a composer and pedagogue whose dream was to become a professional musician, but circumstances at that time prevented her from pursuing her musical ambitions. After marriage, she continued her violin and piano lessons and studied composition under some prominent composers. She went on to become Professor of Music Theory at the New Vienna Conservatory and is considered to be one of the leading women composers during her lifetime. In 1909 at 41 years old, she composed her String Quintet in A Minor, but it was never published until 2022.
Women to be Heard program musicians are Alicia Lee, clarinet; David Perry and Suzanne Beia, violins; Allyson Fleck and Catherine Lynn, violas; and Anthony Arnone, cello.
Performances are 7:00pm, June 22, at Egg Harbor’s Kress Pavilion, sponsored by Mike & Ann Morgan; 7:00pm, June 23, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ephraim; 7:00pm, June 24, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Sister Bay; and 5:00pm, June 25, at Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor. The entire Women to be Heard program is co-sponsored by 100+ Women Who Care Door County and the Women’s Fund of Door County.
A complete 2023 summer brochure can be downloaded at www.midsummersmusic.com.
Tickets are $38 for adults, $17 for students, and children 12 and under are free with an adult. Premium prices apply for special events. Flex-packs of six tickets for the price of five tickets are also available. Tickets can be ordered at www.midsummersmusic.com or by phone at 920-854-7088.
Midsummer’s Music was co-founded in 1990 by Jim and Jean Berkenstock, long-time Door County summer residents and principal orchestral players with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. What began as two concerts among friends has become one of the Midwest’s most anticipated chamber music series, bringing thousands of chamber music enthusiasts from around the globe to the magical Door County Peninsula.