Women Composers: Teresa Carreño

In our efforts to expose children to a variety of music, we are learning about women composers in our SQUILT LIVE! lessons. 

These blog posts are a free resource for anyone who wants to learn more about women in music. 

Your children will learn about Teresa Carreño, listen to her music through a curated YouTube playlist, and download a Draw What You Hear page where they can be creative while listening.

Let your learning stand-alone, or incorporate it with history studies (Romantic Era, Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Latin American women). There are so many possibilities; don't miss the opportunity to teach your children about the valuable contributions women have made in the arts.

Women in Music: Teresa Carreño

Women in Music: Teresa Carreño

(Share the brief biography below with your children. There is also a picture book, Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln, that is quite enjoyable.)


Teresa Carreño (1853-1917) was an accomplished composer, conductor, and pianist of the Romantic Era .

Born in Venezuela, she migrated to America in 1862, where she gave her concert debut at the age of eight. The very next year she continued to give successful performances, and eventually performed at the White House for President Lincoln.

In 1866 Teresa and her family left for Europe, where she met famous composers such as Rossini, Liszt, Gounod and Saint-Saens. She lost her mother to cholera during this time, but continued to press on with her father, traveling to Paris in the late 1860 and 1870s.


Teresa Carreño: Woman Composer, Pianist, Conductor of the Romantic Era

(image credit)

She returned to her birthplace, Venezuela, and continued to give concerts as well as compose. She also made plans for opening a music conservator.

Always the traveler, Teresa Carreño once again traveled to Europe and was highly sought after as a soloist with many European orchestras. She performed with the famous Berlin Philharmonic in 1889. She was breaking into a male-dominated world at this point, performing many of the greatest Romantic Era piano concertos.

She composed approximately 40 works for piano, 2 for voice and piano, 2 for choir and orchestra, and 2 as chamber music.  Though she focused on pieces for the piano, she also composed a string quartet and a serenade. A book she authored was also published in 1919.

She died in New York City in 1917.


Teresa Carreño Playlist

Use this curated playlist to expose children to her music. 

Play the music during a morning time, tea time, or ANY TIME! (Make sure it is Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time!)

Remind them Teresa Carreño was composing in the Romantic Era - the music was characterized by:

  • song-like melodies
  • dramatic contrasts of louds and softs and fasts and slows 
  • more "freedom" in structure 

You can ask them the following questions to prompt listening and discussion:

  • What instruments do you hear?
  • What are the dynamics (louds and softs)
  • What is the mood of the piece?
  • What is the tempo (fast or slow)?
  • Do you get a picture in your head while listening?


After listening once to the music, give them a Draw What You Hear sheet. Ask them to listen again and draw while listening. 


Teresa Carreño Resources

These are resources that have already been listed, as well as additional resources to encourage more study about Teresa Carreõ (and women composers). 

Join us in March 2020 for a month of Women Composers in SQUILT LIVE! One of our live lessons will focus solely on Teresa Carreño and one of her most famous waltzes for the piano. 


Learn About Women Composers in SQUILT LIVE!


The March 2020 Listening Calendar (a benefit for members, but available for purchase separately) will feature 31 curated pieces of music written by women composers. This is a simple way to immerse your children in music!


Other Resources:

Dancing Hands

Shades of Sound: Women Composers

Teresa Carreño's portrait in the National Portrait Gallery

Teresa Carreño's death in "Musical America"

South America Coloring Pages (locate Venezuela)


Enjoy learning about Teresa Carreño!  


Learn About Teresa Carreño - famous Woman Composer

Let us know in the comments below if your children know about any women composers - and who they are!  

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1 comment

  • Thank you for this lovely and inspiring lesson and for all the helpful links!


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