40 Years Of Women In Electronic Music


Avant-garde and outsider arts site UbuWeb has shared a 40+ year audio retrospective of women in electronic music.

Women In Electronic Music 1938-1982, originally broadcast on April 1, 2010, features the work of Clara Rockmore, Bebe & Louis Barron, Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, Eliane Radigue (above), Suzanne Ciani and many others. 

Women In Electronic Music 1938-1982 Part 1:

Clara Rockmore – Vocalise (Rachmaninoff) (recorded 1987)
Johanna M. Beyer – Music of the Spheres (1938, recorded 1977)
Bebe and Louis Barron – Forbidden Planet / Main Titles, Overture (1956)
Daphne Oram – Bird of Parallax (1962-1972)
Delia Derbyshire – Dr. Who (1963)
Delia Derbyshire – Blue Veils and Golden Sands (1967)
Delia Derbyshire – Ziwzih Ziwzih OO-OO-OO (1966)
Else Marie Pade – Faust and Mephisto (1962)
Mirelle Chamass-Kyrou – Etude 1 (1960)
Pauline Oliveros – Mnemonics III (1965)
Ruth White – Evening Harmony (1969)
Ruth White – Sun (1969)
Micheline Colulombe Saint-Marcoux – Arksalalartoq (1970-71)
Pril Smiley – Koloysa (1970)
Alice Shields – Study for Voice and Tape (1968)
Daria Semegen – Spectra (Electronic Composition No. 2) (1979)
Annette Peacock – I’m The One (1972)
Wendy Carlos – Timesteps (1972)
Ruth Anderson – DUMP (1970)
Priscilla McLean – Night Images (1973)
Laurie Spiegel – Sediment (1972)
Eliane Radigue – Adnos III (1980)
Maggi Payne – Spirals (1977)
Maryanne Amacher – Living Sound Patent Pending: Music Gallery, Toronto (1982)

Women In Electronic Music 1938-1982 Part 2:

Monique Rollin — Etude Vocale (1952)
Jean Eichelberger Ivey — Pinball (1967)
Gruppo NPS – Module Four (1967)
Jocy De Oliviera – Estória II (1967)
Tera de Marez Oyens – Safed (1967)
Franca Sacchi – Arpa Eolia (1970)
Sofia Gubaidulina – Viente-non-Vivente (1970)
Beatriz Ferreyra – l’Orvietan (1970)
Suzanne Ciani – Paris 1971 (1971)
Françoise Barrière – Cordes-Ci, Cordes-Ça (1972)
Jacqueline Nova – Creation de la Tierra (1972)
Teresa Rampazzi – Musica Endoscopica (1972)
Lily Greenham – Traffic (1975)
Annea Lockwood – World Rhythms (1975-97)
Megan Roberts – I Could Sit Here All Day (1976)
Laurie Anderson – Is Anybody Home? (1977)
Laetitia de Compiegne Sonami – Migration (1978)
Constance Demby – The Dawning (1980)
Miquette Giraudy (w/Steve Hillage) – Garden of Paradise (1979)
Ann McMillan – Syrinx (1979)
Doris Hays – Celebration of No (from Beyond Violence) (1982)
Brenda Hutchinson – Fashion Show (1983)
Barbara Golden / Melody Sumner Carnahan – My Pleasure (1997)
Joan La Barbara – October Music (1985)

Hosted by Jon Leidecker and Barbara Golden. See the Ubuweb site for more music by these artists and others.

via metrotimes, kmi

33 thoughts on “40 Years Of Women In Electronic Music

    1. This is a great list of female composers. Your acting like a bitchy queen referencing Wendy ,
      she counts in my eyes and so do you . Pop your name on the list darling.

        1. “Wendy’s gender is irrelevant. Her soundtrack to “The Shining” is NOT. There’s the line that matters.”
          I completely agree with you. Wendy has stated several times she is a woman.
          Besides, this is a site to discuss about music and technology, not a tabloid about musicans. The private life of Wendy Carlos (or any other person) should be of no concern to us.
          What’s really important is her music, and in that she has excelled.

    2. I’m disappointed that the first response to this article is to question someone’s gender, rather than acknowledge what the series brings us.

      This is not intended to be a list of every female artist of the period, if it were I’m sure they’d still be doing the series now.

    1. The site offers a lot of history, IMO. It comes in varied enough chapters that it enhances the modern elements nicely. In this case, acknowledging history ALLOWS you to repeat it in positive ways.

  1. Great but its a shame the male announced mispronounces quite a few names. Ron Grainer not Grainger, Delia Derbshire not Dirbyshure etc

  2. Nice to see Miquette Giraudy get some recognition! A very underrated synthesist, iconic even. Thanks UbuWeb/synthhead, I’ll be sure to check this out!

  3. Now that’s a good list. George Duke said his MiniMoog was like a man and his ARP Odyssey like a woman. If you’ve played both, you probably understand how honest his view was. I was knocked out by Pauline Oliveros years ago. I was enjoying Harry Partch and the like then, but the women like Laurie Spiegel brought a feminine sense to things that I found distinct. Most female musicians don’t show the same kind of fire that men do, but its sure there to be heard. It helped me to broaden my own lexicon. I’m always grateful for that. I’d rather meet Wendy Carlos than Mick Jagger. 😀

    1. I think some women are more able to explore feminine aspects of music than some men do. And vice versa, but certainly I’m finding a lot of my favourite modular artists are women because I’m drawn to melody and arpeggiation and that’s what those artists give me.

      I look forward to delving into this series. And anything that promotes the women in the field is good by my account because as someone above put it “acknowledging history ALLOWS you to repeat it in positive ways”

  4. Is there any information on the photo posted at the top of the article? The pin-boards make it look like one of the big EMS synths but the knobs don’t look right.
    I’m fascinated by the history of all those analog synths of the 1970s


  5. I believe you forgot an important figure of El?bieta Sikora:

    Born in Lwow, Poland, Elzbieta Sikora studied electronic music with Pierre Schaeffer and Francois Bayle in Paris and music composition with Tadeusz Baird and Zbigniew Rudzinski in Warszaw, Poland and with Betsy Jolas in Paris. In 1973 she founded, with W.Michniewski and K.Knittel the Group of Composers KEW. Scholarships from the French Government at IRCAM, Paris, the City of Mannheim, and the Kosciuszko Foundation at CCRMA (Computer Center for Research in Music and Acoustics), Stanford, have enriched the composer’s international outlook.
    Elzbieta Sikora has received among others: II Prize for her opera “Ariadna”, at the Composers Competition in Dresden, Germany, Prix Magistère for “Aquamarina” in Bourges, France. She has been awarded by SACEM, received the SACD Prize Nouveau Talent Musique for her opera “L’Arrache-coeur”, in Paris, France and Künstlerinnenpreise in Heidelberg, Germany. She was awarded by l’Académie du Disque Lyrique in Paris and received the French Distinction, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
    Elzbieta Sikora lives and works in Paris, France. Her catalog includes more than thirty major works among which two operas, three ballets, several symphonic works, chamber music works , electroacoustic and mixed musics. She has received numerous prizes.

    Source: http://www.elzbietasikora.com/?lang=en

  6. Consider this-None of these women were mentioned in the movie “I Dream of Wires”. After watching it, I found myself wondering how such a huge oversight was made.

    1. IDOW is much less a history of electronic music and synths and really is more a look at the current state of modular synthesis, especially the Euro scene. And it is a scene where women are very marginalized.

  7. where Is winnifred Mary Habberfield? Huge over sight not including her, she was 10 years before Delia Derbyshire and used tape loops, oscillators and very early synthesised sounds in The Man In the White Suit , The Titchfield thunderbolt and many more , as early as 1943 – pioneering tape loops in particular. she was un credited for quite a lot of her films but latterly with re-issued dvds etc she was given credits. bit of an over sight as Derbyshire was a bit of a disciple of hers.

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