International Alliance for Women in Music



Winners of the 2020 Pauline Alderman Awards 

The International Alliance for Women in Music is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Pauline Alderman Awards for Outstanding Scholarship on Women in Music. 


Authors submitted articles and book-length works published in 2017, 2018 and 2019 for adjudication by respected scholars.  The submissions included monographs, edited collections, theses, articles, and book chapters in English, German, Italian, French, Norwegian and Bosnian.



We were very impressed with the overall quality of submissions, and we regret that we are able to award only two prizes, as follows:



Book prize:
Christina L. Reitz

Jennifer Higdon: Composing in Color, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2018.



This is the first book devoted entirely to the work of Jennifer Higdon, whose music, as Marin Alsop’s Foreword states, is “inclusive, accessible and embracing”.  It focuses on Higdon’s orchestral compositions, with a thorough analysis of six major works, as well as biographical and other material from interviews and elsewhere.


While Christina Reitz does not examine some aspects of the composer’s work and career – precisely because she is still living and her oeuvre is therefore still incomplete – we felt that it was an original and valuable contribution to scholarship. One adjudicator described it as “well-conceived and richly executed,” praising its “stellar precision in music theoretic analysis” as well as its clarity, organization, and accessibility.


Christina L. Reitz is a Full Professor of Music at Western Carolina University,where she teaches courses in Music History and American Music.  She received a B.M. from the Dana School of Music, an M.M. in piano pedagogy, and a Ph.D. in historical musicology with cognates in women’s studies and piano performance at the University of Florida.  Her primary research interests are women in music, with a focus on the works of Jennifer Higdon.  In addition to the monograph on Higdon, she has published articles and entries on this composer in the International Alliance for Women in Music Journal, The North Carolina Literary Review, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Grove Dictionary of American Music and the Library of Congress.  Academic conference presentations on Higdon have been presented at the Southern Studies Conference, the Music by Women Festival, The College Music Society, and the LIVEWIRE Festival.  




Article/book chapter prize:


Kendra Leonard

“Women at the Pedals: Female Cinema Musicians During the Great War.” In: Over Here, Over There: Transatlantic Conversations on the Music of World War I, ed. William Brooks, Christina Bashford, and Gayle Magee. University of Illinois Press, 2019.


This book chapter investigates the women composers/improvisors who accompanied silent films during the First World War while the men were away at war. Their music, publications, and technical inventions (such as patents for piano roll systems) have previously been overlooked.  KendraLeonard’s research sheds a fascinating light on the role that women played in developing film music, demonstrating women’s pioneering, transformative, and subversive efforts.


The work is meticulously researched and wonderfully written.  In the words of one adjudicator, “The author makes a very important and strong contribution to the scholarly understanding of women and gender and music. In the process, Leonard recuperates a forgotten history and opens the door for more research to emerge.”



Kendra Preston Leonard is a musicologist and music theorist whose work focuses on women and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and music and screen history. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive ( Leonard is the author of six scholarly books including Music for the Kingdom of Shadows: Cinema Accompaniment in the Age of Spiritualism (Open access; Humanities Commons, 2019), Music for Silent Film: A Guide to North American Resources (A-R Editions, 2016), and Louise Talma: A Life in Composition (Ashgate, 2014). Her current research projects focus on white supremacy in silent film music and opera in silent film accompaniment. 




Although we are able to award only two prizes, we would like to acknowledge two further publications in each category:


Highly commended



Book-length submissions:


Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft

Analytical Essays on Music by Women ComposersSacred and Secular Music to 1900. Oxford University Press, 2018.

Laurel Parsons is Professor at the University of Alberta and Brenda Ravenscroft is Professor at McGill University in Montréal. The first published volume in their four-book Analytical Essays series, Concert Music 1960–2000, won the 2017 IAWM Pauline Alderman Award and the 2017 Society for Music Theory Outstanding Multi-Author Collection Award. 

Sacred and Secular Music to 1900 is the second volume in the series to be published.  It presents detailed analytical studies of compositions by Hildegard of Bingen (Jennifer Bain), Maddalena Casulana (Peter Schubert), Barbara Strozzi (Richard Kolb and Barbara Swanson), Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (Susan McClary), Marianna Martines (L. Poundie Burstein), Fanny Hensel (Stephen Rodgers), Josephine Lang (Harald Krebs), Clara Schumann (Michael Baker), and Amy Beach (Edward D. Latham). An introductory chapter by Parsons and Ravenscroft reiterates the goals of the series: to celebrate outstanding music composed by women, and “to create a critical mass of scholarship that would stimulate new research into this repertoire.” 


Although much has already been written about the composers examined in this volume, the individual works themselves had not yet been subjected to serious analysis in this way.  One adjudicator described the “extraordinarily well written” series as “a landmark achievement in scholarship”.



Lana Paćuka

Ženski identiteti u muzičkom životu austrougarskog Sarajeva[Female Identities in the Musical Life of Sarajevo during the Austro-Hungarian rule]. University of Sarajevo, 2020. 


Lana Paćuka is a musicologist and music journalist working in Sarajevo.  She has launched several projects to revitalize the musical past of Bosnia and Herzegovina by curating and moderating several concerts based on manuscripts by Bosnian composers.  This book is the first and only study of gender and the position of women in the cultural and musical life in Bosnia and Herzegovina – an important centre of culture in the Austro-Hungarian empire.


One adjudicator praised the book for the relevance of historical sources that Paćuka has consulted, and the vivid picture she paints of female presence in the private and public spaces ofAustro-Hungarian Sarajevo, from homes and salons to public stages and cafes.




Article-length submissions:


Samuel Dorf

“Performing Sappho’s Fractured Archive, or Listening for the Queer Sounds in the Life and Works of Natalie Clifford Barney.” In: Performing Antiquity: Ancient Greek Music and Dance from Paris to Delphi, 1890–1930, bySamuel Dorf. Oxford University Press, 2019.


Musicologist and dance historianDr. Samuel N. Dorf isAssociate Professor of Music at the University of Dayton, Ohio His monograph, Performing Antiquityexamines the performance and reinvention of ancient Greek music and dance in fin-de-siècle Paris.


This work is the first to explore Natalie Barney’s work under the scope of queer musicology. In the words of one adjudicator, it “covers a broad range of historical source material, quotes and literature, and finds a clear and well-informed interpretative way through the selected musical examples.”



Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita 

“The Contribution of the Requesens Noblewomen to the Soundscape of Sixteenth-Century Barcelona Through the Palau de la Comtessa.” In: Hearing the City in Early Modern Europe, ed. Tess Knighton and Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita. Brépols, 2018.


Ascensión Mazuela-Anguita is a Professor at the University of Granada. She has published a number of works on convents, women, music of the Inquisition, music in early modern urban festivities, and traditional Spanish music.


This book chapter is a fascinating look at the inner musical workings of an urban soundscape, examining the influence noblewomen had on musicking activities in 16th-century Barcelona. Adjudicators described it as “original, thoroughly reseached, and very enjoyable to read.”




Special thanks go to the adjudicators of the 2020 Awards: Chloe Allison, Rachel Becker, Kerensa Briggs, Wanda Brister Rachwal, Katharina Canzler-Bjerke, Samantha Ege, Katja Heldt, Matthew Hoch, Ljubica Ilić, Jonathan Inniger, AJ Layague, Tatjana Marković, Irène Minder, Alberto Napoli, Deb Saidel, and Kathryn Woodard.


Warmest congratulations to our winners, and deepest thanks to publishers, authors, and others who nominated many important new scholarly works on women and music.  



Past Pauline Alderman Awards Winners




Book prize: Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft, Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers: Concert Music, 1960–2000. OUP, April 2016.


Article prize: Gurminder Kaur Bhogal,“Listening to female voices in Sikh kirtan.” Sikh Formations, 13:1-2, 48-77, published online 22 November 2016.


Runner-up prize for dissertation: Jessica Rudman, Common-Tone Preserving Contextual Inversions in the Music of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. PhD thesis submitted in 2015 to the City University of New York and published online by CUNY.


Runner-up prize for reference work: Judith Barger, Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880-1910. Routledge, September 2016.




Best book: Denise Von Glahn, Music and the Skillful Listener: American Women Compose the Natural World (Indiana University Press 2013).


Best article: Victoria Malawey, “‘Find Out What It Means to Me’: Aretha Franklin's Gendered Re-Authoring of Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’.” Popular Music (2014) Volume 33/2, pp. 185–207.