An Ode to the Greatest Female Piano Players of All Time

An ode to the greatest women pianists of all time



8th March 2023


Women have been making their mark in the music industry since its inception. From classical to jazz, women pianists have delivered beautiful performances that transcend genre and time. In celebration of International Women's Day, we're shining a spotlight on some of the greatest players ever to grace a stage. We hope they inspire you on your musical journey!

Nina Simone (1933 - 2003) 

The iconic Nina Simone was a singer-songwriter who blended together gospel, jazz, blues, classical music and more into her performances. She was known not only for her powerful voice but also her skillful piano playing. She wrote many songs throughout her career including “I Put a Spell On You” which has been covered by several artists in various genres since its release in 1965. Her career spanned over five decades and she left behind an incredible legacy that continues to influence musicians all over the world today. 

Clara Schumann (1819 – 1896)

Clara Schumann was a German composer and pianist whose career spanned more than six decades. She was one of the most influential musicians of the Romantic era and is widely regarded as one of the greatest female piano players in history. Her compositions were highly praised by both her contemporaries and later generations alike. Her performances were known for their emotional intensity and technical mastery—a legacy that continues to inspire classical musicians today. 

Martha Argerich (b. 1941)

Martha Argerich is an Argentinean pianist with an extensive catalog of recordings and live performances. She has won numerous awards including three Grammy Awards for Best Classical Music Albums and various other accolades such as the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize. Her playing style is known for its virtuosity, passion, and emotion. In addition to her performance work, she is also a well-known teacher who has mentored countless students throughout her career.

Lara Downes (b. 1979)

Lara Downes is an American classical pianist who has released 12 albums since her debut album in 2008. She has received numerous awards for her work including the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Music Journalism, ASCAP Plus Awards for Composition and Arrangement and more. Her performance style has been described as passionate yet sensitive as she often brings out the emotional undertones of each piece she performs with grace and poise. Her latest album "America Again" is inspired by American history and culture and features works by composers such as Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin and more. 

Mari Kodama (b 1962) 

Mari Kodama is a Japanese pianist who has performed extensively throughout Europe and Japan during her 30+ year career as a professional musician. She graduated from Tokyo's University of Arts in 1986 before going on to study at Juilliard School in New York City where she developed her unique style that combines traditional Japanese sounds with modern sensibilities found in Western Classical Music compositions. Her most recent album “Kodama plays Beethoven” which was released in 2016 pays tribute to one of the great composers of all time Ludwig van Beethoven with stunning interpretations of his works such as “Moonlight Sonata” and “Fur Elise” among others. 

These five women represent just a small example of the many talented women pianists that have made waves around the world. From Nina Simone’s iconic blend of musical genres to Lara Downes' sensitive yet passionate performances to Mari Kodama's combination of Eastern styles with Western Classics—these women continue to inspire aspiring pianists everywhere. So if you’re looking for inspiration or simply want to learn something new about these iconic women, take some time out to explore their remarkable contributions to music over the years. What other amazing women pianists would you add to this list?

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8th March 2023

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