Why Maud?

by Karen A. Shaffer

I am here to tell you a story. 

It is unlike other stories you have heard before.

It is about a woman – a woman who succeeded in reaching self-fulfillment despite the odds against her.

 

Why did I say it is a story unlike others you have heard before?

Because the stories we hear from the time we are born are largely the stories of men – men who have achieved great things.

 

How rarely have we heard the stories of women who have achieved great things?

 

Think about it – we are born into a world dominated by men and their world view.  The stories we are told imbue in us the masculine perspective in all things.

 

This is as true today as it was in Maud’s day, perhaps more so.

 

Ask yourself whose voice you are hearing or whose vision you are seeing when you attend a concert or a play, visit an art museum, listen to the radio or tv, or when you go to the movies.

 

How many times have you heard music composed by women in the concert hall or on the radio?

How often do you see artworks by women in art museums?

How many women composers can you name?  How many women artists?

 

The voices we hear and the images we see are predominantly male or predominantly infused with male impulses.  That which is feminine is either silent (unheard) or unseen.

 

But why should we not also be hearing the feminine voice – does it not have just as much to offer?

 

And why should we not hear the feminine voice within ourselves as well as without?

 

Sometimes we don’t even know we have a feminine voice within us because it has been so subtly and thoroughly suppressed.

 

Maud Powell’s story is about the struggle each of us faces – male and female – to find the feminine aspect of ourselves and to balance it with the masculine in order to free our full creative powers.

 

All great art is born of the creative interplay between the masculine and feminine voices within ourselves until it transcends gender distinctions altogether.

 

So – in a sense – we are born out of balance – we have lost that great creative interplay because we don’t know the other half of the stories that tell us who we are, where we have been and where we are going. 

 

Unless we know our story, we cannot know who we are.

 

And if only one-half of our story is known to us, we are not whole.

 

We are not free within ourselves to create.

 

We need stories of men and we need stories of women if we are to achieve the divine balance and interplay that create great art.

 

Maud Powell’s love for her art and joy in sharing music gave her the courage to find her whole self and suffuse it into her art.  She was renowned for the wholesomeness of her art and she became America’s first great master of the violin of either gender.  That’s why her story needs to be told to everyone – because it has validity for each one of us.

 

Maud Powell was missing from the history books until we resurrected her.  There are countless others whose stories have not been told and whose music has not been heard.  So we at the Maud Powell Society for Music and Education have created The Maud Powell Signature – an online magazine featuring the contributions and achievements of women in classical music  – to restore to all of us the great heritage they have left us and the new legacy women in music are creating now.

 

We are doing this so that these stories can become a part of you, your children and grandchildren and fill in the feminine half of ourselves that is largely missing.  The stories we should have heard when we were young and the stories we should be hearing now are being told – accessible to everyone on our Maud Powell Society/Signature web site and our other educational publications, projects and programs.

 

We cannot continue this work without your help.  Your donations make it possible for us to tell the stories that we know and discover others yet unknown.  You can help us make a difference!

 Please donate today via mail or Paypal. 

 

Thank you!

 


American violinist Maud Powell (1867-1920)
Oil on canvas by American artist Nicholas Richard Brewer
1918-1919
Gift of Joyce McFarland Dlugopolski in memory of George A. Doole, Jr. and of The Maud Powell Society for Music and Education
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

NPG.2001.74

 

 

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WRITING WOMEN BACK INTO MUSIC HISTORY!

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