By: Montse Andreu

One would think that the so long fought for equality of the sexes should have reached the adequate levels with respect to the chances that women have to succeed in the field of alternative musics. This is not so. And nevertheless, there are women who have devoted part (or all) of their careers to electronic, experimental composition, who have a great deal of talent. The objective of this series is to make some of these names known to the interested readers.

A Norwegian composer born in Bergen in 1947, she studies music at the Bergen Music Conservatory and the University of Oslo. After specializing in musical theory and organ, she gets a Fulbright Grant, which allows her to complete her musical studies in the USA, from 1968 to 1972, at Converse College, Texas Lutheran College, University of Redlands, California and Washington State University. She stays on in the USA after getting her Masters Degree. Upon her return to her country she becomes an orchestra conductor and organist in her home town, and teaches musical theory at Bergen Teacher's Training College and Bergen Music Conservatory. As a composer she works in several multimedia performances, and has composed chamber and church music, mostly on commissioned works. Among these mention must be made of "Chromocumuli" ("Color clouds") for symphonic orchestra, in which the artist reveals the importance that for her color and rhythm have in her compositions. Anotther piece of hers illustrating this ises "(Fragments of) a modern man" (1985), for baritone voice, percussion, synthesizer and tape. On the other hand, Ruth Bakke is interested in improvisation, which she can enjoy in her work as an organist.

A Canadian composer born in 1962, she got her Master of Music from the University of Toronto. Specialized in New Music, she has won the SOCAN National Competition for Young Composers twice. She favors the composition of chamber works, with and without using tape accompaniment. Many of her compositions are specially created for movie soundtracks, television, radio and theatre.

CATHY BARBERIAN (1925 - 1983):
This American singer of Armenian origin specialized in the performing of New Music, besides developing a wide range of research in this field as well as composing several works within this genre for her own voice. She studied music at the University of New York, and later at the Conservatoire Giuseppe Verdi in Milan before her first debut in Naples in 1957. A year later she appears onstage in Rome, at a concert in honor of John Cage, where she performs her "Aria with Fontana Mix". In 1960 she performed for the first time in America, at the Music Festival of Berkshire, with a work by Luciano Berio, "Circles". She would marry him in 1950. Berio composed many of his works for her, like Igor Stravinsky, John Cage, and Silvano Bussoti among others. Cathy Barberian developed a solid educational task at the Kölnische Musikschule, at the University of Vancouver (Canada) and at the Royal Conservatoire of Toronto (Canada), besides many other countries. In 1971, 1973 and 1974 she was awarded the Grammy prizes, besides a Grand Prix du Disque in 1972. Among the works she composed mention must be made of "Tripsody", commissioned by Radio Bremen in 1966, for the Festival of New Music, composed for a series of comic strips by Roberto Zamarin, a work where the artist gives her music to the drawings working in the same way as a sound technician would, yet providing the entire sound for the piece with only her own voice. As an author she also composed several vocal works and chamber pieces, as well as a theatre play, "The Architect and The Emperor of Assyria", which premiered in Paris, based on a text by Fernando Arrabal. Barberian also published an antology of romanzas by other women composers. Her works have been mainly published in Germany.

This Canadian composer born in 1951 has revealed herself as a great advocate of electroacoustic music. Having received the Eric Award of McGill University, she has also been given several grants of the Canada Council, which has allowed her to develop her creativity in this field in further depth. Her works have been broadcast by the CBC, Radio-Canada, as well as several community stations throughout North America. Among these, she has compositions for chamber ensemble, the electroacoustic medium, movie soundtracks, multimedia productions, dance and video. Among other works, she has released a CD, Claire-voie, under the label Empreintes Digitales, from Canada. This album makes a remarkable use of subtle electronic sounds of an abstract nature in which the author intertwines distant waves of sound, moans, wails and shrieks of a female voice.



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