Women in New Zealand’s musical history

With the celebration of Suffrage Day last week it seems appropriate to draw your attention to some of the many women we have recently added to our website.

Women featured in every aspect of musical life in New Zealand. They played, taught, composed and sold music and their contribution is often overlooked as many were in the shadow of a father, husband or brother. Women were active as musicians and teachers and Louisa Clutsam and Louisa Herz are just two of these.

There were also women music sellers such as Jessie Begg, who saved her husband’s business, Emma Oakey who ran her family’s Nelson business, and Charlotte Retford who had a successful business in New Plymouth for nearly 40 years.

Women composers have featured among our notables from the beginning but we’ve recently highlighted the careers and achievements of Mary Richmond and Catherine Redmayne. All these women, and dozens of others, helped forge the dense and rich musical history of New Zealand and we will be adding to their roll call in the months ahead. If there are any particular women notables you would like included please contact us.