Classical Music Little-Known Favorites

I’ve been seriously listening to classical music—both through live performance and recordings—for nearly 50 years, and am always surprised to find that I still discover or am introduced to works that are new to me and extraordinarily moving. “How can I have gone so many years without discovering this?” I often ask myself when I hear such a piece. Often, these “new” works are by well-known composers, but sometimes they are by composers I have never heard of. And, of course, some of them are new works by living composers.

For example, in 2017, I created a continuously-updated blog entry for “Symphonies by Women” because I was embarrassed to admit I couldn’t name a single one off the top of my head. Well, as you can see there are hundreds, and some of the few I have had the privilege to hear are really good.

There is an enormous amount of unknown music out there, and if only 1% of this unknown music is first-rate, then there must be hundreds of composers and thousands of works that deserve more attention. In France, Thanh-Tâm Le, who has recently helped me so much with this list of symphonies by women, has compiled a larger list of almost 18,000 symphonies by both men and women, and that is only symphonies!

Do you have some favorite classical works (both new and old) that you only know through a live performance or a non-commercial recording? Do you have some favorite works on vinyl or CD that are not currently available on CD? I know I do.

I’ve created a discussion group on groups.io called Classical Music Little-Known Favorites where I hope you and others will post audio files, YouTube videos, etc., of little-known works that you are enamored of. My hope for this group is that music lovers all around the world will join and present new and neglected works for us to enjoy and champion. Please join and spread the word!

Symphonies by Women

How many women have achieved the compositional milestone of writing a symphony for full orchestra?  The answer is, quite a few!  What follows is what I believe to be a comprehensive list of all symphonies written by women.  If you know of others—or if you find anything here that needs correcting—please post a comment.  So many of these works have been unjustly neglected.  The day will come (hopefully soon) when any short list of the greatest composers will include women.

Looking towards the future, one composer to watch will certainly be Alma Deutscher.  Her first of many symphonies is eagerly anticipated!

I’ve created a forum where you can post and listen to any available recordings or performances of works listed here (and elsewhere) that are not commercially available.  I hope you will consider participating, and please do tell others about it!

Classical Music Little-Known Favorites

Els Aarne (1917-1995)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Rosalina Abejo (1922-1991)
Beatriz Symphony
Gregoria Symphony
Pioneer Symphony
Thanatopsis Symphony
Guerilla Symphony
The Trilogy of Man Symphony
Dalawang Pusong Dakila Symphony
Jubilee Symphony
Brotherhood Symphony
Symphony of Psalms
Symphony of Life
Symphony of Fortitude and Sudden Spring
Marian Symphony

Lejla Agolli (1950-)
Symphony

Liana Alexandra (1947-2011)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3, “Diachronies-Harmonies”
Symphony No. 4, “Contemporary Rhythms”
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 8, “Variations”
Symphony No. 9, “Jerusalem”

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh (1947-)
Symphony

Julia Alonso (1889-1977)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Olga Alyushina (1975-)
Symphony

Karen Amrhein (1970-)
Symphony of Seasons

Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Minni Kim-Huai Ang (1966-)
Symphony

Dina Appeldoorn (1884-1938)
Symphony No.1, “May Symphony”
Symphony No. 2, “Wie in lauter Helligkeit”, for soprano, chorus and orchestra
North Sea Symphony

Kimberly Archer (1973-)
Symphony No. 1, “For Those Taken Too Soon” (for concert band)
Symphony No. 2 (for concert band)
Symphony No. 3 (for concert band)

Violet Archer (1913-2000)
Symphony No. 1

Reiko Arima (1933-)
Symphony No. 1, “Okinawa”

Claude Arrieu [Louise-Marie Simon] (1903-1990)
Symphony in C Major

Francine Aubin (1938-2016)
Symphony No. 1, “Allégorique”
Symphony No. 2, “de l’Espoir”
Symphony No. 3, “Kiev”

Lera Auerbach (1973-)
Symphony No. 1, “Chimera”
Symphony No. 2, “Requiem for a Poet”
Symphony No. 3, “The Infant Minstrel and His Peculiar Menagerie”
Symphony No. 4, “Arctica”

Elizabeth Austin (1938-)
Symphony No. 1, “Wilderness Symphony”
Symphony No. 2, “Lighthouse”

Ana-Maria Avram (1961-2017)
Symphony

Pikə Axundova (1984-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4

Maya Badian (1945-)
Holocaust – In Memoriam, Symphony

Judith Bailey (1941-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Mansi Barberis (1899-1986)
Symphony No. 1

Marie Barker-Nelson (1926-)
Symphony No. 1, “The Medead”
Symphony No. 2, “Hodeeyaada”
Symphony No. 3, “Symphony of the Millenium”
Symphony No. 4, “Universe”

Elsa Barraine (1910-1999)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Rasa Bartkevičiūtė (1967-)
Symphony No. 1, “In perpetuum”
Symphony No. 2, “Fantasy”
Symphony No. 3, “El Dorado”
Symphony No. 4, “Rhapsody”

Marion Bauer (1882-1955)
Symphony No. 1

Amy Beach (1867-1944)
Gaelic Symphony

Sally Beamish (1956-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Luise Adolpha Le Beau (1850-1927)
Symphony in F Major

Anđelka Bego-Šimunić (1941-)
Symphony No. 1

Elizabeth Bell (1928-2016)
Symphony No. 1

Ivane Bellocq (1958-)
Symphonie déconcertante

Diane Bish (1941-)
Symphony of Psalms, for organ, choir, orchestra and soloist

Sylvie Bodorová (1954-)
Symphony No 1 “Con le campane”

Johanna Bordewijk-Roepman (1892-1971)
Symphony

Victoria Borisova-Ollas (1969-)
Symphony No. 1, “The Triumph of Heaven”
Symphony No. 2, “Labyrinths of Time”

Ina Boyle (1889-1967)
Symphony No. 1, “Glencree”
Symphony No. 2, “The Dream of the Rood”
Symphony No. 3, “From the Darkness”

Margaret Brandman (1951-)
Firestorm Symphony

Ilona Breģe (1959-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3

Margaret Brouwer (1940-)
Symphony No. 1, “Lake Voices”

Elisabetta Brusa (1954-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Joanna Bruzdowicz (1943-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2 “Concertino for Orchestra”

Nini Bulterijs (1929-1989)
Symphony

Diana Burrell (1948-)
Symphonies of Flocks, Herds and Shoals

Santa Bušs (1981-)
Liminarite (Chamber Symphony)

Sofía Cancino de Cuevas (1897-1982)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Matilde Capuis (1913-2017)
Symphony in G Major

Ann Carr-Boyd (1938-)
Symphony in three movements

Wendy Mae Chambers (1953-)
Symphony of the Universe

Geghuni Chitchian (1929-)
Chamber Symphony

Françoise Choveaux (1953-)
Symphony Indigo
Symphony Blanche

Julia Cibisescu-Duran (1966-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Maia Ciobanu (1952-)
Symphony No. 1, “Journal ’88”
Symphony No. 2, “…from Enescu”

Gloria Coates (1938-)
Symphony No. 1, “Music on Open Strings”
Symphony No. 2, “Music on Abstract Lines/ Illuminatio in Tenebris”
Symphony No. 3, “Symphony for Strings/Symphony Nocturne”
Symphony No. 3 (Version 2), “Holographic Universe”, with violin solo
Symphony No. 4, “Chiaroscuro”
Symphony No. 5, “Drei mystische Gesänge”
Symphony No. 6, “Music in Microtones”
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 8, “Indian Sounds”
Symphony No. 9, “Homage to Van Gogh”
Symphony No. 10, “Drones of Druids on Celtic Ruins”
Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 12
Symphony No. 13
Symphony No. 14, “The Americans”
Symphony No. 15, “Homage to Mozart”
Symphony No. 16, “Time Frozen”
Symphony No. 17, “Fonte di Rimini”

Jean Coulthard (1908-2000)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Choral Symphony, This Land
Symphony No. 3, “Lyric”
Symphony No. 4, “Autumn”

Nancy Dalberg (1881-1949)
Symphony in C minor

Yvonne Desportes (1907-1993)
Symphony No. 1, “Saint-Gindolph”
Symphony No. 2, “Monorythmie”
Symphony No. 3, “L’Éternel féminin”

Mary Dickenson-Auner (1880-1965)
Symphony No. 1, “Irish Symphony”, op. 16
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6

Emma Lou Diemer (1927-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony [No. 2] (1955)
Symphony No.2 (on Amerindian themes)
Symphony No. 3, “Antique”

Johanna Doderer (1969-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2,”Bohinj”

Narcisa Donátová (1928-1981)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Sanja Drakulić (1963-)
Symphony 1991

Lesia Dychko (1939-)
“Greeting for Life”, symphony for soprano, bass and chamber orchestra
“Wind of Revolution”, symphony
“You Begin from Your Eyes”, symphony-cantata

Sophie Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté (1899-1974)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Manitoba”

Ludmilla Efimtsova (1948-)
Symphony No. 1

Maija Einfelde (1939-)
Choral Symphony
Symphony

Pozzi Escot (1933-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6

Louise Farrenc (1804-1875)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3

Anfisa Fiodorova (1953-)
Symphony No. 1

Tsippi Fleischer (1946-)
Symphony No. 1, “Salt Crystals”
Symphony No. 2, “The Train”
Symphony No. 3, “Regarding Beauty”
Symphony No. 4, “A Passing Shadow”
Symphony No. 5, “Israeli-Jewish Collage”
Symphony No. 6, “The Eyes, Mirror of the Soul”
Symphony No. 7, “Choral Symphony”

Bohdana Frolyak (1968-)
Symphony No. 1, “Orbis Terrarum”
Symphony No. 2

Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888-1986)
Symphony in C minor

Rina Furano (1989-)
Symphony No. 1 in F Major
Symphony No. 2 in C Major

Varvara Adrianovna Gaigerova (1903-1944)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2 on Kalmuk Themes
Symphony No. 3

Nancy Galbraith (1951-)
Wind Symphony No. 1

Rachel Galinne (1949-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Chamber Symphony

Stacy Garrop (1969-)
Mythology Symphony

Miriam Gideon (1906-1996)
Symphonia Brevis

Ruth Gipps (1921-1999)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5

Julie Giroux (1961-)
Symphony No. 1, “Culloden”
Symphony No. 2, “No Finer Calling”
Symphony No. 3, “A Symphony of Fables”
Symphony No. 4, “Bookmarks from Japan”
Symphony No. 5, “Elements”
Space Symphony

Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912-1990)
Sinfonia da Pacifica

Julia Gomelskaya (1964-2016)
Symphony No. 1, “SymPhobia”
Symphony No. 2, “Ukraine Forever”
Symphony No. 3, “Magnet”
Symphony No. 4, “Ra-Aeternae”

Ida Gotkovsky (1933-)
Symphony for Strings and Percussion
Symphony for twenty four wind instruments
Spring Symphony
Brilliant Symphony
Youth Symphony

Clémence de Grandval (1828-1907)
Symphony [performed in 1851 by Berlioz’s Société Philharmonique, is lost]
Callirhoe Symphony
Symphony “Amazones”

Marina Gribinčika (1966-)
Symphony

Annie Grimson (1870-1949)
Symphony

Sofia Gubaidulina (1931-)
Stimmen… Verstummen…, a symphony in twelve movements

Margareta Hallin (1931-2020)
Sinfonia piccola, for chamber orchestra

Barbara Harbach (1946-)
Symphony No. 1, “Veneration for Orchestra”
Symphony No. 2, “One of Ours – A Cather Symphony”
Symphony No. 3, “A State Divided – a Missouri Symphony”
Symphony No. 4, “Jubilee Symphony”
Symphony No. 5, “Gateway Festival Symphony”
Symphony No. 6, “Night Sounds”
Symphony No. 7, “O Pioneers!”
Symphony No. 8, “The Scarlet Letter”
Symphony No. 9, “Celestial Symphony”
Symphony No. 10, “Symphony for Ferguson”

Rahilia Hasanova (1951-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3

Irina Hasnaș (1954-)
Symphony No. 1

Hanna Havrylets’ (1958-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “In memoriam”, chamber symphony

Mirrie Hill (1889-1986)
Symphony in A, “Arnhem Land”

Dulcie Holland (1913-2000)
Symphony for pleasure

Augusta Holmès (1847-1903)
Symphony No. 1, “Orlando furioso”
Symphony No. 2, “Lutèce”
Symphony No. 3, “Les Argonautes”

Emily Howard (1979-)
Symphony: Magnetite

Aline Hundt (1849-1872)
Symphony in G minor

Aida Isakova (1940-2012)
Symphony with Timpani for String Orchestra

Marta Jiráčková (1932-)
Symphony No. 1, “Nanda Devi”
Symphony No. 2, “Silbo”

Milijana Jović (1950-)
Symphony for String Orchestra

Dalia Kairaitytė (1953-)
Symphony

Kikuko Kanai (1911-1986)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940)
Symphony in B minor

Elena Kats-Chernin (1957-)
Garden Symphony
Symphonia Eluvium

Minna Keal (1909-1999)
Symphony, op. 3

Merzie Khalitova (1956-)
Symphony No. 1, “Revival”
Symphony No. 2, for chamber orchestra
Symphony No. 3, “Dedication”
Symphony No. 4, for flute and string orchestra
Symphony No. 5, “Ametkhan”
Symphony No. 6, “Yashlyk sedasy”

Makiko Kinoshita (1956-)
Sinfonia for brass

Antoinette Kirkwood (1930-2014)
Symphony No. 1

Liudmila Knyazeva (1947-)
Symphony No. 1, “The Ascent”

Luna Koen-Puđa (1919-2003)
Symphony

Celina Kohan de Scher (1931-2015)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Jitka Koželuhová (1966-)
Symphony

Ekaterina Kozhevnikova (1954-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Sinfonia da Requiem”
Symphony No. 3

Agneta Krilova (1980-)
Symphony No. 1, “Polar Symphony”
Symphony No. 2 for Chamber Orchestra, “To the New World”

Grażyna Krzanowska (1952-)
Symphony with a Beat on the Timpani
A Little Choral Symphony

Mayako Kubo (1947-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Reopening”

Hanna Kulenty (1961-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2 for orchestra and mixed choir
Symphony No. 3

Renata Kunkel (1954-)
Symphony

Ann Kuppens (1964-)
Sinfonia Bellicosa

Iryna Kyrylina (1953-2017)
Chamber Symphony, “Collapse”
Symphony

Libby Larsen (1950-)
Symphony No. 1, “Water Music”
Symphony No. 2, “Coming Forth Into Day”
Symphony No. 3, “Lyric”
Symphony No. 4, “String Symphony”
Symphony No.5, “Solo Symphony”
Symphony No. 6, “Forward”

Helvi Leiviskä (1902-1982)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3

Sabra Lindgren (?-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3, “The Big Sky Symphony”
Symphony No. 4, for strings, percussion, and keyboard
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 8, “A Western Symphony”
Symphony No. 9
Symphony No. 10
Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 12
Symphony No. 13
Symphony No. 14

Elizabeth Maconchy (1907-1994)
Symphony No. 1 [withdrawn]
Symphony No. 2 [withdrawn]
Symphony for Double String Orchestra
Little Symphony

Ester Mägi (1922-)
Symphony

Nina Makarova (1908-1976)
Symphony in D minor

Marianna Martines (1744-1812) [aka Marianne Martinez]
Symphony in C Major

Emilie Mayer (1812-1883)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3, “Military”
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 8

Onutė Narbutaitė (1956-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2

Anne-Marie Ørbeck (1911-1996)
Symphony in D Major

Alla Pavlova (1952-)
Symphony No. 1 “Farewell, Russia” for chamber orchestra
Symphony No. 2 “For the New Millennium”
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9
Symphony No. 10, “Path to Golden Gate”

Dora Pejačević (1885-1923)
Symphony in F-sharp minor

Barbara Pentland (1912-2000)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3, “Symphony for Ten Parts”
Symphony No. 4

Julia Perry (1924-1979)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5, “Integration”
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7, “U.S.A.”
Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9
Symphony No. 10, “Soul”
Symphony No. 11
Symphony No. 12, “Simple Symphony”
Symphony No. 13

Victoria Polevá (1962-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Offertory to Anton Bruckner”
Symphony No. 3, “White interment”

Florence Price (1887-1953)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4

Shulamit Ran (1949-)
Symphony

Elizabeth Raum (1945-)
Symphony of Youth

Heather Schmidt (1974-)
Symphony No. 1, “Manufactured Landscapes”

Johanna Senfter (1879-1961)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 6
Symphony No. 7
Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 9

Verdina Shlonsky (1905-1990)
Symphony

Alice Mary Smith (1839-1884) [aka Alice Mary Meadows White]
Symphony No. 1 in C minor
Symphony No. 2 in A minor

Ethel Smyth (1858-1944)
Symphony, “The Prison”

Helen Taylor (1915-1950)
Symphony

Karmella Tsepkolenko (1955-)
Symphony No. 1 “Symphonic Poem”
Symphony No. 2 “Symphonic Diptych”
Symphony No. 3 “Memorial Symphony”
Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 5

Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “True and Eternal Bliss!”
Symphony No. 3, “Jesus Messiah, Save Us!”
Symphony No. 4, “Prayer”
Symphony No. 5, “Amen”

Lucy Wilkins (1939-)
Symphony

Grace Williams (1906-1977)
Symphony No. 1, “Symphonic Impressions”
Symphony No. 2
Symphony No. 2

Judith Lang Zaimont (1945-)
Symphony No. 1
Symphony No. 2, “Remember Me”
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4 “Pure, Cool (Water)”

Gaziza Zhubanova (1927-1993)
Symphony No. 1, “Energy”
Symphony No. 2, “Island of Women”
Symphony No. 3, “Sarozek Metaphors”

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (1939-)
Symphony No. 1, “Three Movements for Orchestra”
Symphony No. 2 “Cello Symphony”
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4, “The Gardens”
Symphony No. 5, “Concerto for Orchestra”