The Margaret Zach Women Composers’ Library

 
 

In the history of music, the availability of scores, recordings, and books affects the formation of repertorial canons that determine what is performed and heard in concert halls and worship services. This consequently shapes cultural expectations of specific works and selects composers to be included in the educational process of future musicians. Until now music composed by women has been marginal to the standard repertoire of performers. This does not indicate a lack of the existence of women composers, but rather a lack of societal awareness and encouragement on their behalf.

I. The International Women Composers Library in Gainesville, Florida, was founded in the fall of 1994 in order to build a non-circulating research collection of manuscripts, published scores and books, commercial and private recordings, correspondence, interviews, theses, dissertations and other documents by and about women composers. The Library is directed by and based on the holdings assembled by Dr. Miriam S. Zach. The collection functions as a high profile entity for the advancement of women's creative efforts in music. It builds on the work of Antje Olivier, former Director of the Internationale Komponistinnen Bibliothek in Unna/Westfalen, Germany, home of more than 9000 compositions and recordings by women. Although the North American Library operates as a non-for-profit organization, patrons are asked to pay a membership fee to gain access to the library.

II. The library functions as a resource to draw musicologists, performers, and music educators to conferences, workshops, and courses. Local community musical organizations have ready access to the collection to expand their performance repertoires. The Library operates not only as a depository of women's achievements over five millennia but also as a place of action/interaction, i.e. a cultural crossroads for those involved in advancing the status of women in music and related fields. The goal of the library is to expand the involvement of women in music composition in order to empower them to actively participate in the long history of women's productions in music. Although recent international and national symposia, music textbooks, articles in professional journals and recordings indicate a growing dissemination and acceptance of the important contributions of women to the arts, many non-music professionals are unaware of this information.

III. In addition to the establishment of the International Women Composers Library as an institution, one of its strengths is the engendering of international collaborative work and scientific meetings to share research findings, fostered by internet resources. To facilitate this exchange the Library is actively engaged to secure funding for the following research activities:

  1. Bullet the preparation of reference materials such as a catalogue of holdings, indices, electronic databases including internet access via a projected world-wide-web server on women's music.

  2. Bullet planning and implementation of humanities projects in other libraries and archives.

  3. Bullet periodic scholarly publications to prepare authoritative and annotated editions of works and documents through the IWCL’s publication arm Culicidae Press, LLC.

For requests, donations, and comments please go to our contact page.


 

Welcome to the Margaret Zach

International Women Composers’ Library (IWCL)

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