Works For Piano By Brazilian Female Composers of the Twentieth Century: A Discussion and Catalogue

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Mary Ann Stringer

Advisor Department



The role of female composers in Brazilian music history up to the twentieth century was in no way comparable to that of their male counterparts. Because of gender-related issues, women were relegated to lower positions in society and, as such, found it difficult to be accepted into the mainstream of the Brazilian musical environment. In the twentieth century, female composers have increased both in number and in recognition, but their musical output is still little known and rarely performed. For so many years, a patriarchal society has prevented women from sharing in equal opportunities for publication, performance venues, and media. This study brings into public view works that have until now, received little or no attention on the concert stage or in academic circles. While chapter II places women's music within the larger context of Brazilian musical culture, the third chapter analyses the situation confronting Brazilian women composers from the past and present, and the issues they faced because of gender. A historical background highlights the role of three Brazilian female composers of the nineteenth century: Luisa Leonardo (1859-1926), Amélia de Mesquita (1866-1954), and Chiquinha Gonzaga (1847-1935); and two early twentieth-century composers, Dinorá de Carvalho (1895-1980) and Eunice Katunda (1915-1993). Chapter IV provides an annotated catalogue of selected piano works composed by ten Brazilian female composers, between 1970 to the present: Lina Pires de Campos (b. 1918), Maria Helena Rosas Fernandes (b. 1933), Najla Jabor (b. 1915), Clarisse Leite (b. 1917), Jocy de Oliveira (b. 1936), Maria Luisa de Mattos Priolli (1915-9?), Hilda Reis (b. 1919), Mariza Resende (b. 1944), Kilza Setti (b. 1932), and Adelaide Pereira da Silva (b. 1928). The process of locating published scores and manuscripts relied almost entirely on the assistance of several of the composers. A glance at their repertoire indicates that a major portion of their musical output can be classified as pedagogical works. Moreover, these women have not intended to form defense alliances or to incorporate self-conscious feminism in their compositions.