Judith Eisner - violin,
Gail Olszewski - piano,
Molly Wilbur-Cohen - cello,
Nancy Cox - soprano,
Isla Henjy - clarinet
The womenperformhers chamber ensemble chose their name in 1992 to describe their mission. Judith Eisner and Gail Olszewski put the words together 'women perform hers' but with a twist at the end, it says 'hers', meaning that the music was composed by a woman and therefore it is 'hers'. The name is usually written without hyphens or breaks and it is typed in lowercase letters to emphasize the subtle nature of the cause.
Most female composers overcame social, educational and economic barriers, to produce classical music on a level equal to that of men. Brahms, Beethoven and Bach are familiar names but Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel and Clara Schumann are not as well known. It is a shame. The women composers are just as good but they are usually known by their association with their husbands. womenperformhers lets the music speak for itself. For a number of years they have brought the music to the public: about three times a year. For many years they played in the Landmark Center in St. Paul and now they perform in other venues, mostly in churches and synagogues.
Audiences and critics have been delighted to hear this neglected music. William Randall Beard, music critic of the Pioner Press has said, "They perform with wit, ardor and great depth of feeling".
In the past, most of the compositions were limited to chamber works because the orchestra was not accessible to women. Judith says that the ensemble is just the right size for this music.
Today she and the group commission works from contemporary composers and they still play pieces from Hildegard von Bingen and Barbara Strozzi and Mendelssohn-Hensel and Clara Schumann. They even perform some pieces from Brahms and Milhaud. Recent commissions performed are from Libby Larsen, Sarah Miller, Maura Bosch and Diane Benjamin.
Also - Concert dates for womenperformhers will be posted here on this website.