Agnes Zimmerman

Agnes Zimmerman. Composer. One among thousands of women composers of clarinet music
Agnes Zimmerman

Agnes Zimmermann (1847-1925) was a German concert pianist and composer who lived in England. She is remembered in the clarinet community for her piano-wind quintet for clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon, and piano.

Agnes Zimmerman (1847-1925)

Agnes Zimmermann (5 July 1847 – 14 November 1925) was a German concert pianist and composer who lived in England.

Zimmerman composed a four-movement piano-wind quintet for clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon, and piano: I. Allegro II. Scherzo III. Andante, IV. Finale. Although it was never published, a high quality scan of the original handwritten score can be viewed online free of charge. It is included in a collection of her manuscripts held at the Royal Academy of Music’s library, although a score can also be viewed at Scroll to bottom of the page or click here to view the score.

Agnes Marie Jacobina Zimmermann was born in Cologne, Germany. Her family moved to England, and she was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music at the age of nine, where her teachers were Reginald Steggall and Cipriani Potter. Later she studied under Ernst Pauer and Sir George Macfarren. Zimmermann received the Kings Scholarship from 1860 to 1862 and made her public debut 1863 at The Crystal Palace playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto.[1]

After ending her studies, Zimmermann went on a tour of Germany, followed by concert tours in 1879, 1880, 1882 and 1883. She published her own editions of Sonatas by Beethoven and Mozart and compositions by Robert Schumann.[2] Zimmermann moved in with feminist Lady Louisa Goldsmid after the latter’s husband, barrister Sir Francis Goldsmid died in 1878. Zimmermann was said to have given eighteen years of “devoted attention” to Goldsmid and it has been speculated that this was a lesbian relationship.[3]

Several notable composers dedicated works to her, including George Alexander Macfarren’s Three Sonatas (1880)[4] and Michele Esposito’s Ballades, Op. 59 (1907).[5]

Zimmermann died in London in 1925.[6]

View her complete biography, from which the above was excerpted, at A more complete biography may be found at the Sophie Drinker Institute website.

Clarinet Compositions

Piano-Wind Quintet | 18–
Clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon, piano
Publisher: unpublished
The only known copy of the score is held in a collection of Zimmerman’s original handwritten manuscripts at the Royal Academy of Music library’s special collections. A scan of the original can be viewed starting on page 42 of the manuscript at (link)

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  1.  Ehrlich, A. (1894). Celebrated pianists of the past and present: A collection. H. Grevel & Company. p. 366. Retrieved 11 November 2010. Agnes Zimmermann.
  2. Slonimsky, Nicolas (1978). “Zimmermann, Agnes”. Baker’s Biographical dictionary of musicians (6th ed.). New York: Schirmer Books. p. 1947. ISBN 0-02-870240-9.
  3. Sophie Fuller; Lloyd Whitesell (2002). Queer Episodes in Music and Modern Identity. University of Illinois Press. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-0-252-02740-6.
  4. John South Shedlock: The Pianoforte Sonata. Its Origin and Development (London: Methuen & Co., 1895).
  5. Jeremy Dibble: Michele Esposito (Dublin: Field Day, 2010), p. 119.
  6. Oron, Aryeh (August 2007). “Agnes Zimmermann (Composer, Arranger)”. Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1952 Edition; Author: Sir George Grove). Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  7. See Hofmeisters Monatsberichte, May 1872, page 102.
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This page was last updated 3/27/2021

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