Not long ago, I discovered the music of the Canadian composer Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté. I had previously been unfamiliar with her work, most of which is fiendishly difficult, yet full of playfulness and power. It is unimaginable that she wrote some of her most difficult pieces before the age of 12.
This month we celebrated International Women’s Day. Women have long been under represented in the world of classical music composers. I often wonder, if she had been a man and was writing music of the same quality and difficulty, how differently the world would have accepted her music and encouraged her to pursue composition in the early twentieth century. One of her examiners wrote, ”A very gifted pupil. Would make great progress if she spent less time composing.”
It takes an incredibly strong and focussed individual to rise beyond those social limitations, and to let yourself be everything that you were meant to be. She chose the musical life, and it continually inspires me to do the same.