Clara Schumann came to mind as she was a highly regarded international concert pianist promoting the works of great contemporary composers including her husband's.  But she also found time to write her own large concert works, have eight children and nurse Robert Schumann when he became sick.  I'm not sure there is an equivalent present day pianist, but I would nominate the inspirational Joanna McGregor for her outstanding interpretations and Diane Ambache for her commitment to women composers in her programming. -- Angela Willes   [Read Diana Ambache's article on Nadia Boulanger and view her profile in Signature, Vol. II, No. 4 (Spring 2009)] 

The female composer from the past that most inspires me has to be Delia Derbyshire (England, 1937-2001).  Why?  Because she was making bonkers music for her time and mistressed technical techniques using tape and synthesizers.  She dared to be rare and her music is still far out and revolutionary today.  As for a classical composer, it would have to be Hildegard von Bingen.  Again I feel she was brave, individual and unique of her time.  -- Caroline Churchill

Name Your Favorite Historic Inspiration

Send us an email at telling us which female musician of the past you most admire and why.  Then tell us who among contemporary female musicians you think most closely resembles her and why.  We will publish your answers on this page.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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