4 HANDS 4 WOMEN – Anonymous Was A Woman

4 Hands 4 Women – Anonymous Was A Woman

A project by Ferhan und Ferzan Önder     – Download English-   -Download Deutsch-

Empower Women!

We need to make sure, that the value of women is known to our children, so that they are empowered to change the world! “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman“. This expression has its historical roots in a quote from Virginia Woolf’s essay ‘A Room of One’s own’. The essay itself evolved from a series of lectures that Woolf delivered at two women’s only Cambridge University colleges and investigated the challenges faced by women living in a patriarchal culture.

A woman was anonymous and she will no longer be that anymore. She raises her voice and gets attention, be this in terms of music, text or in another way.

This concert highlights works by female composers which will be contrasted with texts by various authors such as Clarice Lispector, Forough Farrokhzad or Sarah Kane. The following works for two pianos will be performed by Ferhan and Ferzan Önder. The styles of the compositions are very diverse: works shaped in baroque and classical style, contemporary pieces, very rhythmical pieces as well as music by Clara Schumann.

Composers and Pieces:

Zeynep Gedizlioglu –  Strength

Anna Drubich – Her Dances

Amritha Vaz – Jyoti/Light

Rachel Grimes And it was her Birthday; dedicated to Clara Wieck Schumann

Johanna Doderer – “Like the Sun” für Klavier zu hier Händen

Philipp Glass –Movement for 2 pianos

Philipp Nykrin – Carla


The composers participating in this project all have solid and diverse international careers. El-Turk has composed for the London Symphony Orchestra, Vaz for various Hollywood productions and Grimes’ works were used for the film ‘La Grande Bellezza’ that won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Shamloo studied composition, traditional Iranian music, electronic music and piano at the University of Tehran and holds a prominent position at an art gallery in Tehran. Drubich is a recipient of several awards and prizes both as a composer as well as a pianist.

Doderer‘s works have been performed at the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Vienna Musikverein and the Vienna State Opera and Özdil has composed for the Royal Opera House/Covent Garden.

Within this grouping of texts there are excerpts of theoretical texts, of lyric poetry as well as passages from a theatre play or from a novel. This generates a diversity of voices and also displays collective intersections. The female identity is the common leitmotiv of these texts.

The Laugh of the Medusa“ by French theatre theorist Hélène Cixous formulates an “écriture féminine“ (feminine writing) and advocates new ways of thinking and writing about women and literature. The synthesis of music and text is seen as a sisterhood of forms of expressions. According to this femininity in writing does not refer to a concrete text being written but it becomes a metaphor for female ways of expression as well as for female creation per se.

In the following excerpt from “Aqua viva“ Brazillian author Clarice Lispector creates a dense web of text and overrides the rules or grammar in order to explore herself with a language free of rules. For Hélène Cixous this is a prime example for “écriture féminine“.

In the poem “O Jewel-studded Land“ Iranian writer Forough Farrokhzad processes the legal attestation in her country of brith during the time of the shah. Using a rather free form of verse, she raises the question if an official registration will also make her more visible as a person.

Every night at the same time British playwright Sarah Kane had been waking up in a moment of depression. The play “4.48 Psychosis “derives its name from the time she arises and finds herself in a state of purest clarity that seems to counter the confusion of her psychosis, and rather ironically this also occurs at a time when others could imagine it is her peak of delusion.

Composer Hans Werner Henze called Ingeborg Bachmann’s autobiographical novel “Malina“ as Gustav Mahler’s 11th symphony. The anonymous first-person narrator defeats her “father“, her personal personification of horror.

Initiators and musicians of this project are the pianists Ferhan and Ferzan Önder who have been appointed “Goodwill Ambassadors” of UNICEF since 2003.

They perform all over the world (including in: Austria, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, France, United Kingdom, USA) to international acclaim and were awarded with the prestigious ECHO Klassik prize.