Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)



First Advisor

Nariaki Sugiura


Gender inequality, such as inequality regarding salary and different treatment for men and women in the workplace, has been a polemic topic in various areas and for diverse reasons. In the music environment, the scene is not different, and the issue has been there for centuries. Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847) was a skilled pianist and composer who grew up in a culturally sophisticated home. Although Fanny and her younger brother, Felix Mendelssohn, shared a common music education, Fanny, like many women at the time, was not encouraged to become a professional musician, unlike her brother. Despite her unconditional support to Felix and the known fact that he strongly depended on her opinion about his compositions, her brother was also opposed to her pieces being published, due to her gender. That is one of the main reasons why only a very small percentage of her compositions were published. As per society’s norms and expectations, her performances were restricted to her private gatherings. The intention of this research is to study the life and work of Fanny Mendelssohn, explore how her gender affected her career as a composer and pianist, and analyze her musical influences.

Included in

Music Commons