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Maria Theresia von Paradis

by sarah - March 27th, 2011.
Filed under: composers, women's history month. Tagged as: , , .

Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759-1824) was an Austrian composer, famous for her blindness and her friendship with Mozart. She was the daughter of Joseph Anton Paradis, the Imperial Secretary of Commerce and Court Councilor to the Empress Maria Theresa, whom this composer was named after.

Her education included music theory, composition, piano, and voice. Among her teachers were Antonio Salieri. Known as a singer and pianist in salons throughout Vienna, von Paradis commissioned several works in her lifetime, including concerti from Salieri, Mozart, and Haydn. After making a name for herself in Vienna, von Paradis also toured Paris, London, Germany, and Switzerland.

She began composing during her European tour and her compositional output increased as her touring schedule slowed. Her first works were for keyboard or voice and keyboard, but also completed five operas and three cantatas. Von Paradis composed by using a composition board that was invented by her partner and librettist Johann Riedinger.

In 1808 von Paradis founded a music school in Vienna and taught young girls singing, piano, and theory. She continued to teach until her death in 1824.

Below is perhaps her most famous work Sicilenne performed by Jacqueline due Pré:

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