Louise Farrenc

Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) was a French composer, virtuoso pianist and teacher. She studied piano with Cecile Soria, later with Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and, from the age of fifteen, she studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Antonín Reicha. In 1821 she married Aristide Farrenc (1794- 1865), a flute student ten years her senior, and they performed together throughout France, subsequently founding Éditions Farrenc, one of France’s leading publishing houses for over forty years.

 

Louise embarked on a successful concert career as a virtuoso pianist and in 1842 she was appointed Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire, the only such appointment for a woman throughout the entire 19th-century. She held the post for thirty years and accounts of the time record that she was an excellent teacher, with many of her students becoming professional musicians.

 

Louise was a prolific composer, particularly of music for piano, also producing three symphonies and orchestral music, alongside a wealth of vocal, choral and chamber music. Her works are beautifully written, in a rich and evocative romantic style and equal to many of her male counterparts and, although she never gained the recognition she deserved as a composer during her lifetime, recent years has seen a resurgence of interest in her music with numerous recordings, performances, broadcasts and publications bringing the music of this wonderful composer back to life.