Holding overview

View to one of our shelves with works by women composers © Archiv Frau und Musik

The Archiv Frau und Musik houses about 30,000 media units (gray literature, historical posters, secondary literature, dissertations/theses, original manuscripts, first printings, etc.) of about 2,000 women composers from over 52 nations from the 9th to the 21st century. Among them are more than 3,500 sound recordings, videos and DVDs, as well as about 20 pre- and post bequests of female composers and conductors, and the world’s most comprehensive collection of postcards of women’s brass bands from around 1900. Within the framework of the federal Digitales Deutsches Frauenarchiv (DDF) project, we are continuously digitizing parts of the holdings of the Archiv Frau und Musik. You are also welcome to search specifically in our online catalog.

Sheet music, literature, media, collections

In addition to compositions and other artistic legacies of music-making women, the Archiv Frau und Musik collects secondary literature, examination papers, concert and conference programs, visual material and newspaper clippings. In 2001, the archive also received the complete archive of Women Composers Munich (KAM) from the musica femina münchen association.

Numerous media such as audio versions of published works, recordings of radio broadcasts and private recordings of concerts, as well as video and DVD recordings, find their permanent place in the archive. It is our declared goal to be able to offer a work in all media in order to provide each visitor with a comprehensive insight.


Bequests, facsimiles, jewels of the archive

Several complete bequests have been given to the archive in recent years, such as those of Felicitas Kukuck (1914–2001), Silvia Leonor Alvarez de la Fuente (1953–2004), Elke Mascha Blankenburg (1943–2013) and Leni Alexander (1924–2005). Numerous active women composers such as Violeta Dinescu and Tsippi Fleischer are already contributing their works to the Archiv Frau und Musik.

Within our showcaseone can admire sheet music, books, instruments and personal objects of the composer Felicitas Kukuck, as well as the world’s largest collection of postcards on women’s wind orchestras from around 1900. Everything can be visited or viewed by appointment.


Our treasury

Among the special treasures of the Archiv Frau und Musik are a fund of first prints, especially from the 18th and 19th centuries, and valuable letter autographs, for example by Clara Schumann. Particularly popular and worth viewing is the unique postcard collection of ladies’ bands from the imperial era. A special collection on rock, pop, jazz, chanson, and non-European art music is the icing on the cake of the “classical” holdings, and expands them to include other musical genres.

Collection expansion – how you can actively participate!

To ensure that the archive’s holdings continue to grow, we are pleased to receive tips, donations, or even permanent loans. Anyone who owns older editions of sheet music, or records with music by female composers, and who would like to make them available to the archive, is cordially invited to do so. For the acquisition of valuable individual pieces, there is also the possibility of sponsorship for interested parties. Information about suitable works can be obtained at any time from the Archiv Frau und Musik. By becoming a member of the Internationaler Arbeitskreis Frau und Musik e. V., or by making a donation to the archive, you can make a significant contribution to the preservation of the music of women composers of all centuries, and to making it known to the music world.

Are you a woman composer yourself?

Then send us your materials (compositions, recordings, programs, press articles, etc.)! They will be given a proper place in our archive. Write to us: info[at]archiv-frau-musik.de

Series of publications

Until 2004, the Internationale Arbeitskreis Frau und Musik e. V./Archiv Frau und Musik published a multi-volume series of publications, including: Noten 1990 (Volume 1, Kassel 1990), Freia Hoffmann/Eva Rieger (eds.): Von der Spielfrau zur Performancekünstlerin. In: Search of a Music History of Women (Vol. 2, Kassel 1992), Sheet Music 1994 (Vol. 3, Kassel 1994), European Reader on Women Conductors (Vol. 4, 2003, 200 pp.), and 25 Plus Piano Solo (Vol. 5, Frankfurt/Main 2004, with accompanying double CD).

Cover of the VivaVoce No. 100 © Archiv Frau und Musik

Until the end of 2015, the IAK also published the magazine VivaVoce, the only German-language magazine for and about music-making women. Due to a cancellation of financial supp

ort, this valuable magazine had to be put on hold for the time being, with its 100th anniversary issue (about 100 pages) appearing at the end of 2015. To date, it contains more than 1,500 articles on and about music-making women from antiquity to the present. As a result of funding from the Digitales Deutsches Frauenarchiv (DDF) digitization project, we are able to offer all issues of VivaVoce for reference in an online version when the project ends.