Welcome back for the fourth and final installment of this “Rock Your Socks Off” composer series. I’m so glad you stopped by, and I hope you like what I’ve put together for this week’s amazing female composer!
Delving into the world of fantastic composers throughout history, it was actually difficult to narrow it down to just four for a month’s worth of blogs. I’m excited for the next time I get to throw in a composer series, because there really are many more composers worth mentioning and listening to.
This week, I’m covering an Austrian composer born in 1759 named Maria Theresa von Paradis. Throughout her life, she wrote two piano concertos, two piano sonatas, five operas, and many, many more pieces. A large portion of her works have unfortunately been lost, though while alive she was one of the only female composers who was able to gain popularity across Europe. Unlike many female composers born in the eighteenth century, Paradis had the opportunity to tour France, England and Germany. She even caught the attention of Amadeus Mozart, who is rumored to have written his Piano Concerto no. 18 in her honor. Maria was also permitted to study with renowned piano teachers of the time in order to further her musical education. Pretty incredible, considering that the level of opportunity afforded her was virtually unheard of for women at the time.
Paradis was not without struggles, however. Around two years old, she began losing her eyesight and was completely blind by the age of five. Even at such a young age and without being able to see, Paradis was a musical prodigy, well-known by the age of seventeen. At the time, transcribing original compositions while blind was a very difficult task. With the help of a man named Johann Reidinger, Paradis could use a special composition board which was tailored to her needs, and she was able to record her musical genius.
Later in life, Maria founded a music school for girls in Vienna, Austria where she taught voice, piano and music theory.
If you like what you learned about Maria Theresa von Paradis, make sure to check out one of her most famous pieces - Sicilienne, (my favorite is the arrangement written for cello and piano).
Thanks for stopping by! Since this is the last of my composer posts for a while, I’d love to hear your ideas on what you may like to see for the next composer series, (any specific genres or groups that you’re interested in).
See you next week!