For those of us who have been lazily, unsuccessfully looking for a way into contemporary classical music, NPR offers a rare enticement: They polled their listeners about their favorite composers under 40 and have culled a top 100 from over 800 suggestions. The resulting list is a fascinating one, with more traditional musicians sharing space with indie innovators including Jónsi, Dan Deacon, Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife, Joanna Newsom, and Andrew Bird. Considering that just about all of history’s best-known composers are male, we were excited to see how many women made the list. And while we love Andersson and Newsom, we thought we’d take this opportunity to explore a handful of young, female composers that we — and our readers — didn’t know quite as well. Ten of our favorites are after the jump.
Lera Auerbach is a composer and pianist whose works, which range from string quartets to operas to ballets, have been performed around the world. Something of a child prodigy, she’s been performing since she was only eight years old. Also a respected poet in her home country, Russia, Auerbach’s compositions reflect her dreamy, unconventional aesthetic.