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Featured Composer: Marianne von Martinez

Marianne von Martinez (1744-1812) was a vocalist, keyboardist, and composer, once known across Europe both as a performer and for her sacred choral compositions.

Her early life was surrounded by culture. Due to her father's position in the Austrian court, Martinez grew up on the Michaelerplatz in Vienna, living in the same building as a princess in the Esterhazà family, Nicolo Porpora (a famous vocalist), Metastasio (the librettist - a close family friend), and a young F.J. Haydn, who lived at the top of the building. Studying with each of them, she also studied composition with the Imperial court composers at the time, including Johann Hasse.

She was a favoured performer of the Empress Maria Theresa, and became one of the first women admitted to the prestigious Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna in 1773. Unfortunately, her career was stunted by the reforms of Emperor Joseph II, when (among other changes) women performers and composers were no longer allowed to be performed in churches.

Though her performing career was largely derailed, she continued to perform through her salon concerts, including performing duets with W.A. Mozart. Though many of her manuscripts were later lost in a fire, we are left with multiple keyboard sonatas, concertos, cantatas, and vocal works.

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