New interactive map puts ‘forgotten’ female composers back on the map

The map consists of 14 Polish composers and over 500 in total from throughout history. Sakira Ventura

An interactive map of forgotten and overlooked female composers has been published, with 14 Polish women included.

The map consisting of over 500 female musicians from throughout history was compiled by music teacher Sakira Ventura from Valencia after she realised how little she had been taught about women composers.

The 28-year-old spent hours putting together the map containing 530 women from across the globe.

Each clickable photo contains a short biography (in Spanish) and links to the artists’ works.Sakira Ventura

Each clickable photo contains a short biography (in Spanish) and links to the artists’ works and social media pages, if they have one.

Ventura told the Spanish EFE News Agency: "The history of music is led by men and related by men, so it is normal that women do not appear.

“What happens is that when you start looking, investigating and investigating, you realize that there have always been women.

Ventura spent hours putting together the map containing 530 women from across the globe.Sakira Ventura

"There are thousands of female composers who do not appear in the books, whose pieces are not played in concerts."

The extensive collection includes 14 Poles ranging from Maria Agata Szymanowska born in 1789 to Martyna Kosecka born 200 years later in 1989.

Included is Agata Zubel, an award winning composer and singer, who is best known for her work ‘Not I’, Marta Ptaszyńska who is recognized not only as a composer but a virtuoso percussionist, Grażyna Bacewicz a composer, pianist and violinist who died in 1969 and Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska a pianist and composer who died in 1861.

Ventura said: "There are thousands of female composers who do not appear in the books, whose pieces are not played in concerts." Sakira Ventura/Twitter

Lidia Zielinska who is a professor of composition and the director of the Electroacoustic Music Studio at the Music Academy in Poznan also made the map.

As well as having written extensively and having her work performed by numerous other artists, she has won 17 awards in composition contests and in 2007 was honoured with the Polish Composers’ Union Award for Outstanding Compositional Achievements.

The youngest Pole on the map, 32-year-old Martyna Kosecka, has 39 compositions listed on her website, the first of which she created in 2006 and the latest is set to debut in October is called ‘Arkhe: Noise Maps for amplified string quartets electronics and 3D mapping’.

One of the 14 Polish women to appear is Grażyna Bacewicz a composer, pianist and violinist who died in 1969.Sakira Ventura

Natalia Janotha composed over 400 works, mostly for the piano. Her mother was a music teacher and friend of Chopin’s sister.

Anna Ignatowicz-Glińska is a composer of over 60 works, she continues to create and perform, as well as teaching the next generation of musical talents at the prestigious Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw.

Musical innovator Jagoda Szmytka, who was born in Legnica in 1982, has compositions in multiple genres such as ballet, opera, electronic music, musicals, transmedia theatre, performative instrumental music with mixed media, audio walks and many more.

Hanna Kulenty’s orchestral pieces have been performed a number of times around Europe, has had her music featured in three movies and so far she has written five opera and stage performance compositions.Andrzej Rybczyński/PAP

Hanna Kulenty’s orchestral pieces have been performed a number of times around Europe, has had her music featured in three movies and so far she has written five opera and stage performance compositions.

Leni Alexander, who was born in Wrocław in 1924 and died in Santiago, Chile in 2005, was not only a composer but also a writer and radio scriptwriter. 

Also featured on the map were Magdalena Długosz, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil and Maria Agata Szymanowska, a composer and one of the first virtuoso pianists of the 19th century, who toured around Europe win the adoration of audiences across the continent.

Also included is Agata Zubel, an award winning composer and singer, who is best known for her work ‘Not I’.Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Szymanowska was forced to divorce from her husband as it wasn’t well received for her to perform in public as a married woman at that time. She died at only 41, in St. Petersburg in the middle of a cholera epidemic, she was still at the peak of her fame and producing new material when she died.

In all, it is estimated that she composed about 100 piano pieces before her death.

Ventura says she is now working on adding another 500 composers to the map.

To see the full map click HERE.