Anne Midgette

Five Things I've Learned About

The Women Who Shaped Classical Music

If you have already purchased a ticket for this event, please use your email address to sign in now.

If you need a ticket, use the BUY TICKET button just below.

Please enter the email address with which you made your purchase.

Join acclaimed music critic Anne Midgette, and discover the Five Things She’s Learned about the women whose important work provides new ways to understand and enjoy the pleasures of classical music.

Online Event Details

  • 90 minutes


  • Single-Class Ticket - $40.00

View the archive of my 90-minute class and discover the Five Things I’ve Learned about the women whose important work provides new ways to understand and enjoy the pleasures of classical music.

Think of classical music, and you think of great masterworks written by men: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and the list goes on. The conventional wisdom is that women, for various historical and cultural reasons, were largely prevented from getting onto the playing field during classical music’s heyday, and now, in the 21st century, we’re working to make up for lost time.

The real picture, however, is more nuanced than that. Yes, there have been and continue to be a lot of obstacles to women’s advancement in classical music — witness how long it’s taken for female conductors to become a significant force. (And now, they are!) But the more you start digging, the more you learn that there have always been a lot of women active in this field, as composers and performers, producing important work. To me, at least, these figures make the whole field seem richer and more colorful — a vibrant territory still ripe for exploration and discovery.

This session is for anyone interested in classical music, whether you’re brand-new to the field or have been subscribing to an orchestra for 40 years. My aim is to give you some new perspectives and new entry points. If you don’t know much about Beethoven, what better way to get to know him than through the eyes of the woman who built his pianos? And you may know all about Mendelssohn, but do you know about his contemporary Emilie Mayer, who ran the opera academy in Berlin, wrote eight symphonies, and was highly praised by critics? My plan is to interweave discussion of some of the main issues that women have faced in this field (like the travails of the female conductor) with brief introductions to a quintet of composers from throughout music history who I’m sure will fascinate you as much as they do me – and who, unlike Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn and some of the female composers whose work has gotten better known, remain largely neglected.

I have a personal stake in this subject: I spent a couple of decades as a classical music critic for major papers — in 2001, I became the first woman to review classical music regularly for the New York Times — and I felt for many years that I needed to prove myself by running with the boys. It took a long time for me to realize that women played a far greater role in this field than I’d ever thought, and that classical music as a whole becomes a lot more exciting and human when women are restored to their proper place in it. Ultimately, I stepped down from my job as chief classical music critic of the Washington Post to work on a long-planned book: A historical novel about Nannette Streicher, the above mentioned piano-builder – a narrative that seeks to put women back in a picture from which posterity has largely removed them. I’m having tremendous fun with this entire topic, and I hope you’ll join me to learn more about a few of the things that have reanimated my love of this thrilling art form.

Anne Midgette

Anne Midgette was the classical music critic of The Washington Post for 11 years, from 2008 to 2019. Before that, she was for seven years a regular contributor of classical music and theater reviews to The New York Times. She has also written about music, the visual arts, dance, theater and film for The Wall Street Journal, Opera News, The Los Angeles Times, Town & Country, and many other publications, reviewing and interviewing everyone from Spike Lee to Twyla Tharp, Marina Abramovic to Luciano Pavarotti. At the Post, she oversaw every aspect of classical music coverage, offset her music writing with occasional visual art reviews, and posted online as The Classical Beat

A graduate of Yale University, where she majored in Classical Civilization, she lived in Germany for 11 years, writing for a range of publications about music, the visual arts, theater, dance and film; editing a monthly magazine; working as a translator; and writing several travel guidebooks. 

She is co-author of The King and I, a candid and controversial book written with Luciano Pavarotti’s former manager, Herbert Breslin, about his 36 years working with the temperamental tenor; and of My Nine Lives, the memoir of the pianist Leon Fleisher, who reinvented himself after losing the use of two fingers on his right hand, only to regain their use some 30 years later. She is currently working on a historical novel about the woman who built pianos for Beethoven.

Other Lives

Discover inspiring classes about the lives of others worth admiring.

Learn more, view personal video invitations to all sessions, and get special discounted pricing using the Five Things I’ve Learned Multi Pass.

Learn More

View On-Demand Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Your ticket entitles you to ongoing access to this class — even after the live session concludes.

If you purchase a ticket in time to join the class live, you can view the archive as soon as it’s posted, as often as you like. Look for an email with information about how to access the course archive within 48 hours of the end of the live class. Once you get it, you’ll have all the information you need to access it as you like across any and all devices you own.

If you purchase a ticket after the live class takes place, you can view the archive immediately, and you can return to it as frequently as you like

If you’d like a refund, we can happily credit the card you used to register for the session. Please send a note to , and we’ll confirm receipt as soon as we see it (We don’t need your credit card info – just your email address and date of purchase.)

There are two things to know:

  • Unfortunately, we can only accept cancellations and refunds up to 48 hours before a scheduled session.
  • There is sure to be a lapse in time between the time we refund your order and the time a corresponding credit appears on your credit card statement. So that you’re not left waiting and wondering, we’ll contact you as soon as we’ve processed the credit in our system.

For reasons we hope you’ll understand – the biggest of them the fact that we make a point of compensating the folks who host Five Things I’ve Learned classes as quickly as we can – we can’t accommodate refunds for tickets purchased within 48 of the start of a scheduled live event. We can also accommodate refund requests for the purchase of an archived session only within 24 hours from the time of purchase.

If you’ve purchased a ticket for this online class and you find that for some reason you can’t make the live session, you have two choices:

  • The first: View the session archive. You can view the session archive as soon as it’s posted – or any time, as often as you like. We’ll make an archive of this class available within 48 hours of the live session, and we’ll send every ticket holder details on how they can view it. As a ticket holder, you’re able to view this full session archive any time– as often as you like.
  • The second: Request a refund. Just send a note to, and we’ll help sort things out. Please keep in mind that we can only accommodate refund requests made more than 48 hours from the start of a live session.

We take data security and the need to protect your privacy as seriously as you do. That’s why we use Stripe to process your registration transaction. They take your credit card and secure your data – in fact we don’t even have access to your credit card number. Which is just the way we like it!

The information we do retain we protect carefully.

We’re committed to keeping personal information collected from those individuals who visit our website and make use of our online programming and services confidential, secure, and private. Our privacy policy ensures that we meet – and when we can – exceed most existing privacy standards.

Want to know more? Read the ExtendedSession Online Privacy Policy Agreement.

Still have a question? We’d be pleased to hear from you. Send a note to:

The receipt you receive via email immediately after you register is all you need to confirm you’re set for the upcoming session.

About 48 hours before the live class is scheduled to begin, we’ll send you a personalized email confirming that everything’s on schedule and containing easy instructions for accessing the class.

We’ll send another reminder on the day of the class itself, and we’ll be available online just before the class begins to make sure you have no problems joining when the time is right.

Have a question in the meantime? We’d be pleased to hear from you. Send a note to:

If you’ve not received confirmation of your purchase, it’s not because we haven’t sent it. In fact, we send an immediately confirmation to the email address you share with us to ensure that we can reach you with class details.

If you don’t receive a confirmation within 10 minutes or so making your purchase, please first check your “junk” or “promotions” email first — some people’s email programs group unfamiliar emails in these types of folders. The email date and time should match closely the time you purchased your ticket online.

If the confirmation email is not there, there’s a small possibility that your email address wasn’t entered as you intended when you registered. (You’d be surprised, but this happens.)

In any case, we want to make sure we can reach you. And we want to make sure you’re registered for the class you want. if you can’t find your confirmation email, please send us a note at We’ll get back to you right away.

© 2024 All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

Thanks for stopping by!

Find out first about every new class.

TicketsYou and a guest could win two tickets to the class of your choice.

Register now. We share two tickets every day, and an email newsletter with news about our latest upcoming classes once a week.

By sharing your email, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.