For our music episode, Dan Zanes leads his band of fact-checkers, accompanied by Stephen J. Dubner. (Photo: Lucy Sutton)
Throughout history, women composers stood in the shadows of their male counterparts. Women were not allowed to hold music positions, one of the support systems for male composers. They were expected to have a family and get married. Some young women were fortunate enough, if they lived in upper-class families, to receive lessons growing up.
But some “hidden” women composers influenced the famous men we know of today. Mozart’s older sister, Nannerl, and Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny, were both talented musicians who were discouraged from pursuing musical careers. And in the U.S., Ruth Crawford Seeger’s classical compositions were overlooked for years, until 1986 when Matilda Guame wrote an extensive biography about her.