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2014 Abstracts

Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759-1824): A Blind Composer’s Place in Eighteenth Century Vienna

Jessica Russell, Dixie State University

Fine Arts

Early sources tell us women have traditionally played a background role in any event. It is only in recent decades that an interest in their historical role has taken place, and the field of musicology is no exception. Performers and composers that were well-known in their time have been forgotten as time moved forward. One such artist includes the Austrian composer and performer, Maria Theresia von Paradis. A contemporary of Mozart, Paradis was a traveling concert pianist and composer who is mostly remembered for being blind (Neuls-Bates 1982). Unfortunately, one of her most significant contributions to the field of music, namely her school of music for girls, has been forgotten and is left out of historical accounts almost completely. This school, which taught piano, voice, and music theory to girls, was innovative for its time (Fürst 2005). In this presentation, I will discuss the literature related to women in music in an effort to determine the extent to which these sources address Maria Theresia von Paradis and her contributions as a musician, composer, and pedagogue.