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Mélanie Bonis was initially allowed to play the piano in order to increase her value on the matrimonial market, and she was quite fortunate when family friends enabled her to attend the Parisian ‘Conservatoire’. One of her fellow students was Claude Debussy. Her work as a composer was fuelled by the fact that her parents managed to find her an affluent husband. In 1883 she was pushed to marry 22 years older wealthy industrialist Albert Domange. But only from about 1900, her family obligations as a mother of three own and five stepchildren allowed Bonis to intensify to compose. Free from financial hardships, Mel Bonis practiced music as a pleasant pastime, soon producing and disseminating her own compositions. During this time she received several composition awards. She became a member of “Société des Compositeurs “. Approx. 300 compositions were printed during her lifetime by renowned French publishers. But still, practicing music as a profession was unthinkable for a woman, which eventually lead to Mélanie Bonis changing her first name into “Mel“ in an attempt to blur her gender in front of potential publishers.    Here a sound sample: Kyra Steckeweh plays Desdémona from »Femmes de Légende« of Mel Bonis (from the CD »En dehors«)

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