Too often the music of women composers is condemned to particular concerts "For Women Composers Only". Rather than exalting their creativity, this practice gives the impression that women composers need special assistance, that their music is inferior, and that they require affirmative action. Instead, their music should be allowed to stand on its own, freely mingled and compared with music of men composers, especially their colleagues: those with whom they interact and share influence. Only this way can the discerning listener be able to objectively assess the imagination and craft of any composer, and praise the genius of those worthy.
Many today are interested in performing, studying, and listening to the music of women composers because they are women. That's fine with me; but my interest in Clara Schumann is based on a love of her music and a fascination with the details of her intriguing life. If you perform, study, or listen to Clara Schumann just because she is a female or for any other reason, I have no complaint.
But her music must be heard. Today.
*Candace A. Magner recently noted the comment by French operatic composer Ambroise Thomas, regarding Cécile Chaminade, “C’est extraordinaire! Ce n’est point une jeune fille qui compose, c’est un compositeur!” (“It’s extraordinary! It is not a young woman who composes—it is a composer!”). Quoted in the NATS Journal of Singing, March/April 2001, p.23, from Tardif, Cécile. Portrait de Cécile Chaminade. Montreal: Courteau, 1993, p. 47.