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Inspiring Female Composers

In honour of International Women’s Day, we at Schott Music are proud to showcase the careers and insightful compositions of Dobrinka Tabakova, Zoë Martlew, and Priaulx Rainier.


Dobrinka Tabakova

One of our latest signings, Dobrinka Tabakova is a composer of rich, expressive music, whose distinct soundworld has been called “riveting, piercingly beautiful and frequently radiant” (Huffpost Arts & Culture). Born in the historic town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Tabakova moved with her family to the United Kingdom when she was 11 and has lived in London ever since. She is currently Artist in Residence with the Hallé Orchestra and is flourishing on an international scale as the demand for her works continues to grow. Upcoming performances include The Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage Tour, involving over twenty performances around the UK and Ireland with two brand new choral commissions, Arise Lord into Thy Rest (2022) and Turn our captivity, O Lord (2022).


Zoë Martlew

Known on a global scale as a cellist, composer, performer, cabaret artist, and educator - Zoë Martlew’s influential creativity truly knows no bounds. Born and raised in the UK, Martlew has written works for solo cello, mixed chamber ensembles, dance groups, electronics, pop, rock, and theatre companies. Much to her benefit as an excellent cellist, Martlew also performs in many of her own commissions such as Shift, Trip (2005) for solo cello which she premiered with Ballet Black at the Royal Opera House and Salat Babilya (2008) for solo cello without bow  for the Banff Festival. Remarkably, Martlew’s compositions are invariably written for specific individuals and/or musicians making every performance exceptionally unique in which her “music rises to a plangent emotional peak” (Wall Street Journal).


Priaulx Rainier

Priaulx Rainier was born in 1903 at Howick, Natal, South Africa, of English-Huguenot parents. Her early childhood was spent in a remote part of the country near Zulu land, where the liquid language and music of the indigenous people, the sounds of wild animals and the calls of the birds were to prove a lasting influence. In 1920 the University of South Africa Overseas Scholarship brought her to the Royal Academy of Music where she studied violin, subsequently settling permanently in London. Key works include Sinfonia da camera (1947), commissioned by Sir Michael Tippet, and Cello Concerto (1964) which received its premiere by Jacqueline du Pré at the BBC Proms. Throughout her life, her compositional style involved a break from conventional form, unlike her contemporaries who were focused on twelve-tone serialism, with works centred around rhythms and sounds derived from her African roots as a child.


These three women have continued to pave the way for all young artists and composers in a predominantly male world of classical music. As our awareness grows for the need of diversity, we have seen an abundance of emerging female and gender-queer composers that continues to provide a broader perspective, allowing us to engage more deeply with audiences on both the local and international stage.


Upcoming Events:

The Sixteen premiere Tabakova’s Arise Lord into Thy Rest and Turn our captivity, O Lord at Oxford’s St John the Evangelist on 11 March 2023

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The City of Oxford Choir’s performs Martlew’s Karakia (2014) on 18 March 2023 at St Michael at the Northgate

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The Signum Quartet perform Rainier’s Quartet for Strings (1939) at Carnegie Hall on 18 May 2023

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Visit Schott's website for more information or to purchase publictions:

Dobrinka Tabakova (schott-music.com)

Zoë Martlew (schott-music.com)

Priaulx Rainier (schott-music.com)