Any piano solo, or concerto movement composition written exclusively by a female composer – in any style, from any time period – will be considered for this award. We would also allow an original composition by the contestant (assuming, of course, the contestant is female!). An original composition would, of course, also qualify for the Best Original Composition award.

Female composers of published piano music who would like to be included on this page may contact Dr. Houle.

Here is a practical volume of piano music (intermediate to early advanced) by various women composers:

At the Piano with Women Composers, edited by Maurice Hinson, 1990, Alfred Publications catalog #428. (A little "strategy" thought: the Nocturne by Szymanowska in this volume would qualify a contestant for the FEMALE COMPOSER award, the BEST PERFORMANCE OF A ROMANTIC PERIOD WORK award, and the BEST PERFORMANCE OF A LYRICAL AND PREDOMINANTLY SLOW WORK award!)

Alfred also publishes delightful intermediate level music by Catherine Rollin (e.g., Spotlight on Classical Style; 4 Original Pieces in Classical Style for the Intermediate Pianist, Alfred catalog #6038).

Notable Female Composers

Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee

Dianne's music is generally 20th/21st century in style, but also quite accessible. It runs the gamut from easier "teaching pieces" to wonderful "showcase virtuosic" pieces that appeal to macho teenage technique studs (e.g., "Sonata No. 1"). Her beautiful Chopinesque Nocturne was featured in the March/April 1999 issue of Piano & Keyboard magazine and would also qualify a contestant for the BEST PERFORMANCE OF A LYRICAL AND PREDOMINANTLY SLOW WORK award as well as the BEST PERFORMANCE OF AN IMPRESSIONISTIC OR CONTEMPORARY WORK IN ANY STYLE!

Several CDs of her music are available -- e.g.: - "Music by Dianne Goolkasian-Rahbee"

Compositions are performed by noted pianists Rebecca Raffaelli, Phyllis Alpert Lehrer, Tanya Bartevyan, Elise Jackendoff, Deborah Yardley Beers, Ena Bronstein Barton, and violinist Magdalena Suchecka Richter.

To purchase this CD or inquire about Rahbee's piano music and other CD's, contact Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee at:

(617) 489-1848
45 Common St.
Belmont, MA 02478-3022

Rahbee's music can also be heard online.

The complete piano works of Rahbee are, or will be, published by:

The FJH Music Company
2525 Davie Road, Suite #360
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33317-7424
or 1-954-382-6061
fax: 954-382-3073

Or you can order her music from any music store.

Newly published by Rahbee: -- "Modern Miniatures for Piano Solo. Volume 1; Late Elementary/Intermediate," edited by Helen Marlais. FJH Music Co., Inc.

Other compositions by Rahbee include the following (if not yet available from FJH Music, please contact Rahbee directly):

Essay No. 1 Op. 1 (1972 ) (L. Int.)Pictures Op. 3 (1980) (El.)Essays Op. 4 (1980) (Int.)
Three Preludes Op. 5 (1980) (Int.)
(CD: T. Bartevyan, pianist)
Abstracts Op. 7 (1981) (Up. Int.)Expressions Op. 8 (1981) (Up. El.)
Phantasie Variations Op. 12 (1981) Advanced
(CD: Phyllis Alpert Lehrer, pianist)
Fragments Op. 14 (1987) (Up. El.) Soliloquies Op. 17 (Int.)
Seven Pieces Op. 18 (Int.) Intermezzi Op. 21 (1984) (Up. Int.)
(CD: E. Jackendoff, pianist)
Sonata No. 1 Op. 25 (1986) (Adv.)
(CD: R. Raffaelli, pianist)
Sketch Op. 29 (1988) (Also for Harp solo). Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 31 (1988) (Adv.)
(CD Seda 333 Lehrer, pianist)
Nocturne Op. 32, No. 1 (1989) (Int.)
(CD: R. Raffaelli, pianist)
Scherzino Op. 32, No. 2 (1989) (Int.)
(CD: T. Bartevyan, pianist)
Novellette Op. 34 (1989) (Up. Int.)
(CD: D. Yardley Beers, pianist)
Sonatina Op. 41 (19990) (Int.)
(CD: E. Jackendoff, pianist)
Prelude Op. 54 " Intchu?" (1992) (Up. Int.- Adv.)
(CD: E. Jackendoff, pianist)
Prelude Op. 62 "Whim" (1994) (Int.) Three Preludes Op. 68 (1994) for Virginia Eskin (Adv.)
Prelude Op. 69 "Twilight" (Intermediate) Selected Preludes (Op. 4; Op. 18; Op. 46; Op. 62; Op. 69) (Int.) Seven Little Etudes Op. 74 (Int.)

Biography of Goolkasian-Rahbee:

Dianne Goolkasian-Rahbee was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, February 9, 1938, and began her early musical training as a pianist with Antoine Louis Moeldner in Boston, and continued studying at Juilliard as a piano major and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria playing chamber music. She later studied piano privately with David Saperton in New York and Lily Dumont, Russell Sherman, and Veronica Jochum in Boston.

At the age of 40, she began concentrating more seriously at composing and has since produced a large body of works for piano solo, orchestra, instrumental ensembles , percussion, and voice.

In 1985, she was elected President of American Women Composers, Massachusetts Chapter and founded its annual marathon. Her music has been performed in Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, China, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Canada and throughout the U.S. In 1993, her orchestral work "Tapestry No. 1, Proclamation" was recorded on CD with the Slovakian Radio Orchestra, conducted by the late Robert Black, and is available on the MMC Recording Label. Selected piano music for students is published by Boston Music Company. As a first generation Armenian-American whose father was a survivor of the genocide, her music reflects a deep rooted ethnic background. The strong influences of her first spoken language, Armenian, and the folk music she grew up with, are important elements in her musical language. Her early love for music was sparked by her talented violinist mother.

Dianne Goolkasian-Rahbee teaches piano privately at her home in Belmont, Massachusetts and gives lectures and master classes internationally.

Marjorie Burgess - see Donna Burgess Award

Alex Shapiro has written three solo piano works that might be of interest to students. Students could feel free to play just a single movement from either the 3-movement "Sonata for Piano," or the 5-movement "Piano Suite," if they don't wish to attempt the entire work.

Intermezzo for Piano

An easy, intermediate level piece that runs 3 minutes.

Piano Suite No. 1: The Resonance of Childhood

An advanced intermediate piece that runs about 12 minutes total; it's made up of five short movements that can be played modularly.

Sonata for Piano

An advanced three movement piece that comes in around 15 minutes; the last movement is a minute and a half scherzo that is a good show-piece.

Prize strategy tip: the Intermezzo and the fourth movement of the Piano Suite, titled "For My Father," would also qualify in the category of "Best Performance of a Lyrical and Predominantly Slow Work."

Here are two advanced compositions by Marjorie Rusche, followed by her descriptions:

PIANO PORTRAITS: NIGHTWATCH – 1. In Memorium 2. Bluesy Cantabile

A 9 minute composition for solo piano, completed August 8, 2001.

1. In Memorium portrays the struggle for life of a patient in an intensive care cardiac unit as well as the loved one's emotional fluctuations during the night vigil. Rolled cluster chords open the work. A nine-note row motive is then stated and repeated in varied from throughout the work. Rapid cluster chord repetitions and arpeggios frame a calmer, more melodic and tonal middle section. The movement ends quietly, with a varied lyrical restatement of the first five notes of the row.

2. Bluesy Cantabile is the calm after the storm, the determination to go ahead with life mixed with nostalgia. It opens with a melodic line constructed from a D minor blues-inflected scale. The melody shifts to the left hand with chords added in the right, then is developed in a more contrapuntal texture. The music then transforms into chordal passages with strongly stated expanded tertian harmonies which are then presented in syncopation and stretto. Mirroring the process of the first movement's ending, the second movement closes with a wistful and tranquilly subdued restatement of the opening cantabile theme.
Requires an advanced player; this music contains several virtuosic passages.

For a copy of the score, please contact:

Marjorie M. Rusche
4524 Hickory Road #3-C
Mishawaka, IN 46545
Tel: (574) 243-1615

Another terrific composer is Melody Bober, a contemporary composer who writes generally intermediate, catchy, sophisticated and accessible music. Here is a partial list of her published music:

FJH Collections: Cyclone, Dynamic Duets Books 1 and 2, Folk Fantasies, Standing Ovations, Romantic Rhapsodies, Traditional Hymns, Tunes in Transit, From the Emerald Isle, The Best of Melody Bober books 1 and 2 and Christmas Encores Books 1 & 2

FJH Sheets: Canyons and Waterfalls, Tokyo Twilight, Summer Romance, Magnificent Monarch, A Reflection of Love, Sleighride Fantasy, Rodeo Roundup, Black Cat Scherzo, Crystal Palace Waltz, Daybreak in Dublin, A Sailor's Journey, Danse Romantique, Morning Vista, Remember When, Sweet n' Sassy, Agent X, Sundance Canyon, Lakeside Reverie, Midnight Rhapsody, Sonatina of the High Seas, Fantasy on Londonderry Aire.

Willis Collections: Melody in Moonlight, Melody in Action, Melody in Motion, Melody in Christmas, Melody in Seasons

Willis Sheets: Irish Suite, Country Frolic, Escapade, Reflections of Autumn, Starlight Starbright, A Song for You, Night Rider, Flight of the Eagle, Spring Rain, Roxanne's Waltz, Reverie (duet), Skating by Starlight, Rhapsody, Dream Interlude, Hungarian Dance, Loch Lomond, I Sing the Mighty Power of God

Lillenas (A Division of the Nazarene Publishing House): Praise in Many Colors

The music of Judith Zaimont, Professor of Composition at the University of Minnesota, is profiled in the April 2003 issue of Clavier.

Lola Perrin is a London based American composer and pianist.

More Detailed Information for Scholarly Types


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