Seen from above, a woman plays the piano. For a blog post on my musical influencers.

These Women Are My Musical Influencers

It’s not unusual for me to read a tweet from a musical friend and find inspiration in it. That’s certainly the case with this tweet:

Tweet Yourself Well

Musical influencers - a person wearing a sweater plays a piano

I’ve asked so many questions of musicians over the years, that my thoughts drifted from this actual question. Instead, I began to think about the “who would I ask” part. I drifted so far, that I began to query not only living influencers, but also many who have passed on.

Honestly, I could not name all of my musical influencers in 100 blog posts let alone one. In fact, I’ve written about many of my mentors and the musicians I look up to. I’ve mentioned Rhiannon, Bobby McFerrin, Phil Porter, Peter Gabriel (of course), and many others. But here are some musical influencers who I haven’t mentioned recently and I want to honor them by writing a few words.

Zoë Keating and Musical Craft

I have no idea if Zoë Keating is famous to other people. To me, she is a star. Besides being a stellar musician and improviser, I think she’s an honorable human being (based mostly on what I have read from her and the press online). Sadly, I’ve only seen her in concert one time. (And I hope to remedy that soon.)

Keating’s music suggests many influences and her compositional craft is something I admire and want to emulate. Using live-looping and other technology, she creates pieces that follow an arch of beauty and engaging power. My question for Zoë is, “You’re always so warm and affirming of people who are your fans. What’s one story of a fan who inspired you deeply?”

YouTube player

Florence Price and Orchestration

Besides being the first female African-American to gain national attention, Florence Price was a brilliant orchestrator. She is known for her songs, piano and orchestral works. Many of her musical works were not published until after her death while others still remain unpublished. If she were still alive, my question for her might be, “Who or what is one of your musical influences when it comes to composing?”

YouTube player

Clara Schumann and the Piano

As a pianist, it’s important that I mention Clara Schumann. You can imagine how much her performing and composing has influenced me. And that’s after having discovered her music more recently. She had a long concert career as a pianist and composed many pieces for piano and orchestra.

I find myself with many questions for Schumann. One point of curiosity for me would be about her arc of rehearsals and other preparations leading up to a performance.

YouTube player

Hildegard von Bingen and Sacred Music

I’ve admired the music of Hildegard von Bingen for decades. Besides being an abbess, mystic, and visionary herbalist, Hildegard wrote a significant body of musical pieces. Naturally, her music is sacred, but the moods in it transcend typical church anthems.

As you can imagine, I was particularly influenced by Hildegard when writing my opus: Requiem for a Stranger. As I composed the choral parts, I often would ponder, “What would Hildegard do?

If I could ask Hildegard von Bingen a question, it would be something like this: “May we take a walk in the garden and talk of music or whatever other subjects distract us?”

YouTube player

Who are your musical heroes and influencers? And what do you want to ask them?

3 thoughts on “These Women Are My Musical Influencers”

Leave Your Response

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: