Australian Women in Music – Performers, Composers, Educators, Researchers

MAMU features a diverse range of material focussing on Australian women in music. Some of our collections with a strong focus on Australian female musicians, composers, dancers and researchers include:

The Doreen Nayman Collection

Doreen Nayman was a Melbourne-based music educator who specialised in the Kodaly Method. She was a long-time presenter on 3MBS including the Women in Music series. She was a member of the Australian Women Composers Network and also supported work by Jewish-Australian composers.

The Doreen Nayman Collection includes.

  • Women in Music series, presented on 3MBS between 1985 and 1992. Including recordings, research notes and scripts
  • Interviews and research on female composers and performers including Margaret Sutherland, Miriam Hyde, Kay Dreyfus, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Dulcie Holland, Helen Noonan and lots more
  • “Differentia – the Work of Contemporary Australian Jewish Composers”, 2004 performance with unpublished CDs and program notes, includes works by Elena Katz-Chernin and Lynda Phillips (Doreen Nayman was artistic director)
  • Program notes from the Composing Women Festival held in Adelaide in Sept 1991.
  • Information on the Australian Women Composers Network
  • Original scores by Miriam Hyde.

The Louise Lightfoot Collection

Louise Lightfoot was the co-founder of the First Australian Ballet and later became interested in classical Indian dance. She conducted extensive field work on ethno-choreology in India and went on to work as a producer and tour manager for Indian dancers performing in Australia and the USA. As a white women touring with Indian performers, including in segregated areas of the United States, her collection contains valuable insights into 20th century race relations.

The Louise Lightfoot Collection includes:

  • Field notes, photographs and recordings
  • Press clippings and press photos
  • Scripts, lighting designs, soundtracks and other production notes
  • Dance props and costumes
  • Contracts and correspondence.

The Vera Bradford Collection

Vera Bradford was an Australian pianist who began her career in the early 20th century. A close friend and colleague of Percy Grainger, Bradford made a point of performing repertoire deemed too difficult for female pianists.

Her collection includes:

  • Unpublished CD recordings of piano and orchestral arrangements by Bradford.
  • Personal letters between Bradford and Percy and Ella Grainger.
  • Interviews with Dorothy Roxburgh, one of the original viola players to join the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
  • Press clippings, photographs and programs about Bradford’s career.
  • Hand written scores by Lilian Richards

The Kay Dreyfus Collection

The Kay Dreyfus collection includes the research material for her 1999 book, Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of Australia’s All-Girl Bands and Orchestras to the End of the Second World War (Currency Press). The research material includes:

  • Fieldwork interviews
  • Press clippings
  • Programs
  • Photos
  • Biographies
  • Concert recordings.