The Venus Unwrapped series includes just 100 of the 6,000 known historical female composers. This afternoon promises to give you a grand sweep of the background to the series thanks to lively speakers, from pioneering academics to writers and performers.
Professor Laurie Stras (University of Southampton; Musica Secreta) takes the nun’s story onwards from Hildegard of Bingen to the extraordinary achievements of Renaissance nuns such as Raffaella Aleotti and Leonora d’Este. Anna Beer (author of Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music) explores the role of female aristocratic patronage in the 16th and 17th centuries, focusing on composers like Francesca Caccini and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, while Diana Ambache (Ambache Ensemble; founder of the Ambache Charitable Trust) reflects on a lifetime spent restoring women’s music to the concert platform. Dr Kate Kennedy (Oxford University, Oxford Centre for Life Writing), who is spearheading the creation of an international archive, leads the day.