Emilie Mayer was the daughter of an apothecary. She received piano lessons from a young age and dabbled in composing, but it wasn’t until later in life that she pursued this career path with force. In 1847, she moved to Berlin, where she began lessons in counterpoint with A. B. Marx and orchestration with Wilhelm Wieprecht. She traveled around Europe with her brothers in an effort to get her music performed and published. She was, by far, the most famous German woman composer during her lifetime. However, little of her music was published and it has gone unperformed since her death in 1883. She wrote a singspiel (Die Fischerin), several symphonies and symphonic overtures, and numerous choral, solo voice, and instrumental works. In addition to composing, she was a sculptor, and many of her sculptures are in collections across Europe to this day.
- Marie-Aline Cadieux. “The Cello and Piano Sonatas of Emilie Mayer (1812-1883).” DMA dissertation, The Ohio State University, 1999.
- Almut Runge-Woll. Die Komponistin Emilie Mayer (1812-1883): Studien zu Leben und Werk. Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 2003.