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Classical music has a history of Composing… Women! So this Women’s History Month Tri States Public Radio and the WIU School of Music shines the spotlight… one every weekday… on over twenty great female composers. From baroque to romantic… to impressionist… to post-serialist. From the mystic Abbess who advised the Pope… to the Chicagoan whose works were rediscovered in an abandoned house. Listen in for Composing Women… Every weekday during March at 7:19 during Morning Edition, or at 5:48 during All Things Considered, as TSPR Music Director Ken Zahnle introduces you to our composer of the day… and at 11:00 a.m. during Ovation for a featured work by our featured classical master.

Maria Theresia von Paradis

Maria Theresia von Paradis

Though the charming miniature that today is most famously associated with her may have actually been a hoax, there’s no denying the success in her time… and triumph over odds… of Maria Theresia von Paradis.

Paradis bore two handicaps to professional musical success in 18th century Vienna: first, she was a woman; and second, she was blind by age of 5.

A daughter of the Imperial Secretary of Commerce to Empress Maria Theresia (her Namesake), Paradis was afforded a first-rate musical education, including piano lessons with noted artists, and studying singing and composition with the famed Antonio Salieri. Her hearing was considered to be highly accurate, and she possessed a remarkable memory, reportedly knowing over sixty concertos by heart… including some written just for her by Salieri and Mozart.

After a temporary partial ebb in her blindness (while being treated by the controversial practitioner Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer), Paradis began to tour the continent as a soloist:

in London accompanying the Prince of Wales; in Paris one journal reporting, "…one must have heard her to form an idea of the touch, the precision, the fluency and vividness of her playing."

By the time she turned 30, Paradis was focusing more effort on composing than performing, with five operas, three cantatas, concertos, and songs to her credit. But one of those may NOT be the Sicilienne “discovered” by 20th century violinist Samuel Dushkin. It’s now widely believed that Dushkin himself penned the work as a novelty… with the positive side effect that many would rediscover Paradis, most of whose genuine works have not survived to the present day.

In 1808 she founded her own school of music for young girls, teaching until her passing in 1824.

Maria Theresia von Paradis… a Composing Woman.

Fantaisie for pianoforte - this is possibly a midi performance??

Overture to Der Schulkandidat

Morgenlied eines armen Mannes - there is a better recording on Naxos by Patrice Michaels Bedi, done in a proper studio.

Ken oversees all music programming for Tri States Public Radio, hosting the morning classical music program Ovation, the Saturday nigh jazz survey After Hours, and engineering recorded performances for TSPR. Ken is a native of Highland Park, IL, with degrees in music and broadcasting from Western Illinois University. Teenage years listening to Chicago's old-school fine arts and classical radio stations, coupled with a few months spinning discs on a college residence hall radio station, led him onto the primrose career path of radio. Ken has deep roots at TSPR, starting as a student staff announcer and host, before becoming news director for a group of local radio stations, then Program Director for Tri States Audio Information Services. When he's not deep within our studios and music library, he continues his over quarter-century of assisting Macomb High School's Marching Band.