When Leipzig pianist Kyra Steckeweh realised that her repertoire almost exclusively consisted of music composed by men, she began searching for pieces written by female composers. Her research in archives, libraries, and publishing houses quickly brought to light a variety of remarkable piano pieces that have been buried in history and rarely performed..
Steckeweh sees a lot of catching up to do, which is why the focus of her piano recitals has since shifted to the music of women composers. At the beginning of 2016 her album,“En dehors”, with piano works by Mel Bonis and Lili Boulanger, was released and in 2017 she recorded another album with piano works by Fanny Hensel and Emilie Mayer. With these releases she has brought to our attention and delight four very different composers, all of whom left a diverse body of work.
In addition to the in-depth examination of the music, Steckeweh, as a pianist and historian, seeks to look “behind the notes”: How did these women live? What barriers did they have to overcome and how did they manage to cope with the obstacles of their time?
The film “Women Composers” highlights the historical and personal circumstances under which these four remarkable women created their works in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Together with Berlin filmmaker Tim van Beveren, Steckeweh commences a quest for information which leads them to France, Italy, Poland, and Germany.
During their expert interviews, the film team manages to not only elicit noteworthy aspects of the composers’ lives and works but also discusses to which extent the legacy of the composers has been preserved and why their music is performed so rarely.
At the piano Steckeweh skilfully revives the music of Mel Bonis, Lili Boulanger, Fanny Hensel and Emilie Mayer, making the viewer feel almost personally acquainted with these remarkable composers.
The film has a running time of 95 minutes with 5.1 dolby stereo sound. Besides its original German language version there are an English as well as a French subtitled version available for theatrical presentation.