Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Dee Gauthier

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Cowan


Keiley Vieau, mezzo-soprano, presented her honors thesis senior academic voice recital on Friday, April 19th, 2019 at 3pm. The performance took place at the Lee Honors College in the lounge. This recital was put on in collaboration with pianist Molly Sanford. Music performed included works by all female composers, such as Barbara Strozzi, Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Nadia Boulanger, Augusta Holmès, Liza Lehmann, and Amy Beach. This abstract will provide a brief overview of the theme of this recital as well as address the basic musical characteristics of certain pieces from the repertoire programmed.

The recital was based solely on repertoire written by female composers. The musical selection spans from the Baroque era of the 1600’s to the neo-romantic era in the 1900’s. These composers come from Italy, Germany, France, and America and wrote in a variety of styles and languages. Each composer was chosen because they clearly represent the music of the time period they are from and express the text using rhythm, phrasing, and melody. Women have been discouraged from composing music historically due to societal norms and gender roles. The purpose of this recital was to bring awareness to underrepresented music as well as address the struggles faced by women in the field of composition historically and today.

The recital opened with “Spesso per entro al petto” by Barabara Strozzi. She lived between 1619-1677 and was one of the few women of her time to have her music published under her own name. Anticipating the social backlash she would receive for publishing this piece, she dedicated it to royalty. The regal mood intended for this piece is heard in the grace notes and embellishments of the piano line, virtuosic treatment of the text, and large melodic leaps.

Nadia Boulanger is the only composer with two pieces featured in this recital. She set the stage for women to compete in composition competitions. She also addressed her gender casually to those who questioned her ability and became one of finest composition educators of her time. Her first piece, “Cantique,” discussed the purity of love through the imagery of nature. The accompaniment is repetitive in rhythm but utilizes unconventional harmonies and non-chord tones to highlight the text. “Le Couteau” is her next piece and it contrasts the first with its minor mode and agonizing text. She demonstrates her understanding of the text by using unresolved chords to highlight the protagonist’s unwillingness to forget his love.

The recital closed with “Ah, Love, but a day!” by Amy Beach. She was a composer who felt torn between her role as a wife and a composer. While her husband supported her creative interests, he discouraged her publicly performing. This piece is based on Robert Browning’s poetry and is part of a song cycle titles 3 Browning Songs, Op.44. The text compares the changing social climate to the protagonist’s love. The pleading of the text if heightened by sustained high notes in the vocal line.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Podium Notes.pdf (108 kB)
Podium Notes

Program notes.pdf (175 kB)
Program Notes

Program-1.pdf (362 kB)

1 Spesso per entro al (543634 kB)
1 Spesso per entro al petto

2 Ihr Bildnis _ (704868 kB)
2 Ihr Bildnis _ Fruhling

3 Cantique _ Le Couteau _ A (1071506 kB)
3 Cantique _ Le Couteau _ A Trianon

4 There are Fairires _ Browning (778061 kB)
4 There are Fairires _ Browning Songs