Breaking Glass Ceilings: Music by Unruly Women


1. Elfentanz

Viola Sonata

2. Flow
3. Drift
4. Breathless

Sonata for Viola and Piano

5. Impetuoso
6. Vivace
7. Adagio


8. La Captive, Op. 40 No. 1
9. Berceuse, Op. 40 No. 2
10. Mazurka, Op. 40 No. 3

Rose Wollman and Dror Baitel

Breaking Glass Ceilings is the first collaboration between violist Rose Wollman and pianist Dror Baitel. Rose and Dror met in South Bend, IN where they quickly developed a musical and food-based kinship. This program was first conceived as an excuse to play together, and Dror had the vision to record it as an album celebrating these amazing women.

American violist Rose Wollman has been hailed as “innovative” and “stylish” by the Chicago Classical Review. She loves music from all time periods, and one of her favorite things is working with composers. She has spent her career commissioning and performing new music. Rose has worked with the likes of Pierre Boulez, Augusta Read Thomas, and Atar Arad. She deeply believes the viola is the best instrument, and created SBOV Music to promote this most perfect of musical voices. Rose holds a D.M. from the Indiana University Jacobs School and degrees from the New England Conservatory and the University of Illinois. Rose teaches in the music department at Saint Mary’s College, plays the viola, and writes / revises / grades with a cat named Fluffy on her lap.

Israeli pianist Dror Baitel is a musical chameleon, equally at home performing Beethoven and Sondheim. He was on the original music team of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton and was pianist- conductor for the hit musical Dear Evan Hansen. Dror has conducted the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and performed art songs for the Carnegie Hall Citywide Series. He holds a D.M.A. and M.M. from the Juilliard School and a B.M. from the Mannes College of Music. His scholarly interests include the history of the American musical theater, the golden age of musicals, Stephen Sondheim, and romantic operas. Dror currently serves as Assistant Professor of the Practice, Collaborative Piano and Music Director of Opera and Musical Theatre at the University of Notre Dame.

Florence Beatrice Price (1887 - 1953)

Florence Price was the first African-American woman to have her composition performed by a major American orchestra. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, she began music lessons with her mother. Price gave her first piano performance at age 4 and published her first composition at 11. She attended the New England Conservatory (Boston), majoring in organ and piano pedagogy and also studying composition and counterpoint. To avoid discrimination, Price (who was mixed-race) told people she was from Pueblo, Mexico.

Shortly after graduation, she returned to her recently-segregated home town of Little Rock. Due to racial violence in the 1920s, the Price family moved to Chicago where Florence found a vibrant African-American musical community. She continued to study music as well as languages and liberal arts subjects. In 1930, Price’s “Fantasie négre, no. 1" received rave reviews after a performance at the National Association of Negro Musicians convention. She won first prize in the 1932 Wanamaker Foundation Awards for  "Symphony in E minor." In 1933 her "Symphony no. 1" was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Century of Progress World's Fair.

Florence Price enjoys a robust legacy today. An elementary school in Chicago was named after her. There has been a renewed interest in her work in the 21st century, resulting in the publication of rediscovered compositions and countless performances and recordings.

Libby Brown Larsen (b. 1950)

Libby Larsen was born in Wilmington, Delaware. When she was 3 years old her family moved to Minneapolis. That same year Larsen started imitating her sister’s piano lesson. Since then, she has been a musical omnivore, with influences ranging from the Gregorian chant of her grade school to the Dixieland music her father played on the clarinet. Larsen kept Minnesota as her home while gaining an international reputation. She co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum to promote the creation and performance of new music and to help composers negotiate all aspects of the business. The Minnesota Composers Forum eventually expanded into the American Composers Forum.

In 1983 Larsen made history by becoming the first female composer-in-residence for a major American orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra. She became artistic director of the Hot Notes Series, sparking her interest in the relationship between acoustic and synthesized sound. A Grammy (1993) and Peabody (2010) Award winner, she holds honorary doctorates from Saint Mary's College / The University of Notre Dame and the University of Nebraska. Larsen is an active exponent of music, giving keynote addresses for musical organizations around the country.

Rebecca Helferich Clarke (1886 - 1979)

Rebecca Clarke was a British-American violist and composer, and one of the first women to play in a professional orchestra in London. Clarke was an extraordinary violist and performed with such luminaries as Jascha Heifetz, Pablo Casals, and Arthur Rubinstein. She chose to focus on her all-female chamber music groups. As part of the English Ensemble she performed for high profile events such as the Paris Colonial Exhibition in 1931. Clarke’s compositional output consists primarily of works for herself and the ensembles she performed with, particularly the English Ensemble and a duo with cellist May Mukle.

The sonata featured on this album is her most famous work and is standard repertoire for violists. Clarke entered the sonata in a 1919 competition sponsored by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. It tied for first place with a piece by Ernest Bloch, who was eventually declared the winner. Even though Clarke never won the Coolidge competition, Elizabeth Coolidge later sponsored Clarke's "Rhapsody for Cello and Piano," making Clarke the only female composer Coolidge supported.

Clarke's legacy was cemented with the creation of the Rebecca Clarke Society, founded in 2000 and dedicated to performing, promoting, and publishing Clarke's work. Late in her life, Clarke established the May Mukle prize at the Royal Academy of Music. This prize is still awarded yearly to an outstanding cellist.

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867 - 1944)

Amy Beach was the first female American composer to have widespread success and national prominence. By age 4, she was composing songs and playing four-part hymns on the piano. She gave her first public performance at age 7. Her Boston debut at age 15 was followed by a performance with the Boston Symphony at 17. In 1892 her "Mass in E-Flat Major" was the first composition by a woman ever performed by the Handel and Haydn Society. In 1896 her "Gaelic Symphony" was performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. This work, published in 1897, made Amy Beach the first American woman to publish a symphony. She sustained this success throughout her career, and she continued to receive commissions that were performed in both the U.S. and Europe.

Beach was generous with her time and used her success to nurture the next generation. She served on the board of counselors of the New England Conservatory, coached pianists and composition students, and published many articles about piano practice and performance. She created Beach Clubs, which provided music education for children. She was the first president of the Society of American Women Composers.