Zaimont: Born to Write Music

When I was growing up…nobody ever told me that any women wrote music. Did it stop me? No. I knew I was born to write music…”

Judith Lang Zaimont – award-winning composer and pianist – is featured in the March 2021 edition of NewMusicBox (NMBx). Zaimont chats with NMBx Composer Advocate Frank Oteri and talks about her career as a pianist, professor, researcher, and an American composer. The profile highlights: when she recognized her calling as a composer; thoughts about her extensive catalog; writing for the piano and what she composed during the pandemic; and her childhood memories of practicing Mozart and Chopin, performing on national television, and the time she met Walt Disney at Disney Land.

Given that March is Women’s History Month, it’s important to note that early in her career, Zaimont was also a major champion of other female composers, both of her own contemporaries and women from earlier eras. Her advocacy efforts resulted in The Musical Woman (Greenwood Press) — Zaimont’s important series of volumes of critical studies of their music which she edited. Zaimont reflects. “I saw there was a whole cohort of women who were writing music. I started to learn the history of music that had been written in times past by women…These people were not in the history books. They were not there. Generations of the present moment [weren’t aware of] them. The world needs to know about what they have accomplished and appreciate it. I got letters from some of the standing composers whom we profiled in the critical appraisals sections of the books, [thanking] me for finally having been able to engender these really critical articles dealing with the stuff of their music. Not who they were as a person. Whether they were married or had children, [or] how old they were. [Not] that they were women in a man’s world. None of that. [But to directly] deal with their music. That’s why I did that. I set my own creative work aside to do this because somebody needed to step up and do it…I’m very grateful to the music that these people wrote, that it is now in the world.” Read the complete NewMusicBox interview here.