University of Music Karlsruhe

Feminale of Music

Logo University of Music Karlsruhe

The Karlsruhe University of Music is firmly opposed to any kind of discrimination. It stands for the promotion of diversity and the self-evident equality of all genders. Its libraries house extensive collections of sheet music and concert recordings of works by historical and contemporary women composers.

The origins of the Karlsruhe University of Music date back to 1812, when a musical educational institute for wind players and – two years later – a »Singanstalt« (singers institute) were founded on private initiative and with the support of the city.

The »Musikbildungsanstalt« (musical education institut), founded in 1837, was merged with the »Großherzogliches Konservatorium« (Grand Duke’s Conservatory of music) in 1910. In 1929 the »Badische Hochschule für Musik« was created from this. The state of Baden-Württemberg took over this institution in 1971 and transferred it to the »Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Karlsruhe« (Karlsruhe University of Music).

Some members of the university's staff have been committed to the visibility of female composers for years, including piano teacher Daniela Willimek, who has recorded two CDs »Fascination Women's Music« under her birth name Daniela Steinbach. The CDs present an excerpt of the art of female composition through the centuries: great names of now »established« female composers such as Fanny Hensel and Clara Schumann as well as four first recordings by Margarete Schweikert from Karlsruhe are represented on the recordings together with works by other female composers. 

Professor Sontraud Speidel will not only talk about Margarete Schweikert, Clara Faisst and Fanny Hensel at the FEMINALE OF MUSIC, but has also released several CDs in the course of her career with works by the above mentioned composers as well as works by women composers from three centuries.

We are also grateful that the student Clara Müller-Wirth has provided us with her radio feature about Clara Schumann in Karlsruhe, which was created in the context of her bachelor thesis 2019/2020 at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and the Karlsruhe University of Music.

The FEMINALE OF MUSIC ended in the 21st century and used the FINALE to present positions of young women in particular, thus giving a glimpse into the future. Female students of composition and music informatics formed the center of the program and represent the diversity at the HfM. In their work, one of the university's guiding principles becomes visible in different ways: future-oriented thinking and the examination of new music as a creative expression of our time.

The proportion of women in the composition classes of Prof. Markus Hechtle and Prof. Wolfgang Rihm has fluctuated between 20 and 40 percent in recent years. Three of the current ten students are women, including Elina Lukijanova, whom we will introduce at the Feminine of Music. Kathrin Denner, Ling-Hsuan Huang, Esther Lee and Jia Liu are graduates of the composition course.

Elina Lukijanova and Jia Liu are also studying in the Master's program Music Informatics at the Institute for Music Informatics and Musicology (IMWI). The IMWI started its work in 2005 and since then offers various Bachelor and Master programes with an artistic or scientific focus. In the Master of Music Informatics there are currently 17 students, 3 of them female students. Jingting Cai, who is also represented at the FEMINALE with a contribution, is one of 4 doctoral students in the field of Music Informatics, with 11 doctoral theses in progress.

Finally, the contributions to the FEMINALE OF MUSIC also testify to the cooperation between the subjects of composition and music informatics. Their meeting place is especially the ComputerStudio. As a studio complex, with its studios, seminar rooms and laboratories, it offers the entire university, but especially the Institute for Music Informatics and Musicology, comprehensive possibilities for the use of technology in the field of artistic application in projects and performance. It has produced the concert recordings and made them available for the FEMINALE OF MUSIC.

Every semester the university organizes a class concert »Zimmer 205«, where students have the opportunity to perform and present their compositions, such as the works of Kathrin Denner, Esther Lee, Elina Lukijanova and Ling-Hsuan Huang presented on this article page. Sometimes there are so-called »Zimmer 205 – Spezial!« concerts in collaboration with an external ensemble, such as on 13.06.2018, »Zimmer 205 – Spezial!« Guest: IEMA with the performance of the work »Isshaku« by composer Ling-Hsuan Huang. The International Ensemble Modern Academy IEMA will perform world premieres by students of composition classes in the Wolfgang-Rihm-Forum. Every summer semester there is the concert »NachtKlänge«, a cooperation with the Badisches Staatstheater under the direction of Ulrich Wagner, in which pieces by composition students are always premiered in addition to a reference piece. In January 2017, four composition students, David Eisele, Andrés Nuño de Buen, Esther Lee and Kathrin Denner (both students are part of the Feminale-Program), traveled to Japan as part of a cooperation project with Kunitachi College Tokyo, where their compositions for Shō and chamber music instrumentations by Prof. Mayumi Miyata and students at Kunitachi College in Tokyo were premiered. Through such collaborations the students get to know musicians and conductors, which in the best case results in commissioned works.


Mon, 06.04.2020 – Fri, 01.05.2020

The ZKM honors female composers with a four-week digital festival