Timeline of Women’s Musical Achievements

Romantic Era (1830 – 1900)

The woman of the future, with her broader outlook, her greater opportunities, will go far, I believe, in creative work of every description.

Cécile Chaminade

Earlier last year, I found my old music history textbook from college while cleaning up the house. While flipping through it, I noticed that each chapter began with a box displaying a timeline of significant developments in music history alongside events from European history that occurred around the same time. A couple of things troubled me about this presentation:

  1. The textbook only features a handful of women musicians and composers. These timelines also function as an outline for each chapter, and contributions by those women rarely appear on the list.
  2. As someone from the U.S., events from a different continent are not always the best points of reference to help me contextualize these landmarks in history.  While historical trends in classical music tend to center around western Europe, there were also classical musicians active in the United States from the 19th century on. 

I created this resource to help bridge those gaps. It’s not an exhaustive list, but rather an invitation to get curious about the underrepresented history of women in Western classical music from the Romantic era. 

I hope this resource can help spread awareness that even though they are largely excluded in music history textbooks, female musicians have always been capable of achieving great things.  ♡

PS – In this printable, I’ve kept some men’s achievements from the original timeline as points of reference; however, I hope this can serve as additional context, rather than as a means of comparison.

This PDF printable is a great resource for anyone who’s passionate about music history or women composers, as well as studio classes or private lessons in any instrument.

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