Illuminating the work of female composers

Composers with names like Johann and Ludwig won’t be found on the set list for Sandra Mogensen’s next concert.

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Composers with names like Johann and Ludwig won’t be found on the set list for Sandra Mogensen’s next concert.

Instead, look for names like Laura, Helen and Amy.

Mogensen, a Sarnia native and pianist currently based in Denmark, is playing a hometown show March 23 featuring compositions by female 19th-century composers.

Following the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, the university-educated musician said she wanted to shine a light on the often-forgotten women composers of 150 years ago.

She’s calling the performance, and her planned recording of the pieces in May in Germany, en pleine lumiére – in full light.

“There is a lot that is brilliant and masterful and gorgeous,” she said about the selections she picked from scores of works by men, noting other musicians are also starting to give more attention to female composers.

“I think there have been people over the last 30 or 40 years probably looking into it, but it hasn’t’ really accumulated much steam until recently with #MeToo and Time’s Up and all these movements where we’re looking at gender parity in a more general sense in society,” the Northern Collegiate and Rosedale elementary graduate said.


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Her concert at the Sarnia Library Theatre – where she said she performed her first recitals as a child, learning piano from her mother Edite Mogensen – is also a fundraiser to help pay for her recording.

German recording engineer and producer Kaling Hanke is helping her with that, she said.

Mogensen said she’s played the same 90-minute set to other audiences over the past few weeks to strong receptions.

“I think the story that it’s been kind of hidden and undervalued, and now, ‘Wow, here we are; it’s fantastic music’ – it’s such a nice story for people to be a part of the discovery of this,” she said.

The featured composers are French, German, Swedish, Norwegian, American and Scottish, she said, and the works are from 1840 to 1870.

She’s also planning subsequent albums, she said, looking at female composers from different time periods.


WHAT: Sandra Mogensen performing en pleine lumiére

WHEN: March 23, 2 p.m.

WHERE: Sarnia Library Theatre

TICKETS: $20, or $10 for students



  • Valborg Aulin
  • Agathe Backer-Grøndahl
  • Amy Beach
  • Mel Bonis
  • Cécile Chaminade
  • Helen Hopekirk
  • Luise Adolpha LeBeau
  • Inga Lᴂrum-Liebig
  • Sofie Menter
  • Laura Netzel

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