The Capitol Chamber Players — a group that includes several Davis residents — will open its season with a concert, “Women Composers through the Ages,” at 3 p.m. Sunday at Congregation B’nai Israel, 3600 Riverside Blvd. in Sacramento.
The program will focus on music by female composers from the early Baroque to the present day; over much of history, women have had to struggle to have their music taken as seriously as music that was composed by men. Performers include Rona Commins, soprano; Davis resident Maquette Kuper, flute; Davis resident Robert Samson Bloch, violin; Rejean Anderson, cello; and Davis resident Susan Erickson, harpsichord.
The earliest composer will be Francesca Cacinni (1587- circa 1645), who grew up and worked in Florence as a musician for the Medici family. She was the first woman to compose opera and the highest paid musician in the court at the height of her career in the 1620s. She also composed songs, incidental music and music for the theater, but few of her works survive.
Another important Baroque composer is Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729), from France. Known for her brilliant harpsichord improvisations, she contributed to all the musical genres popular in France in her day, including opera.
Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759-1824) was an Austrian composer. Known as a singer and a pianist, she lost her eyesight between the ages of 2 and 5. Her visit to the Mozart family in Salzburg was noted in Mozart’s sister’s diary. Mozart wrote his B Flat Piano Concerto for her. Paradis learned more than 60 concertos by heart, as well as solo and religious works and she performed in Paris and London.
Rebecca Clark, 1886-1979, was an English classical composer best known for her chamber music featuring the viola. She became one of the first female professional orchestral players. Stranded in the United States in New York City at the outbreak of World War II, she remained in this country, composing and performing, until her death at age 93.
Katherine Hoover, born 1937, is an American composer and flutist. Her mother was a painter and father was a scientist, and they discouraged her from pursing music. She began her studies at the University of Rochester but transferred to the Eastman School of Music where she studied flute, and she continued her composition studies at Yale University.
She established her own publication company, Papagena Press, in 1990 with the publication of her flute solo work, “Kokopeli,” which won the National Flute Association New Published Music Competition. She resides in New York City where she continues to compose and remains a champion of female composers.
Tickets are available at the door for $20 general, $15 for seniors or $10 for students. For more information, call 916-428-7379 or email capitolchamberplayers.org.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.