About Musicians Club of Women
The story of Musicians Club of Women
Musicians Club of Women (MCW) is the oldest musical club in America. In 1873, a group of five music-loving women began meeting informally to play and sing for each other in what became known as “The Amateur Musical Club.” Ensuing years witnessed phenomenal growth in both the size of the membership and the amount of musical activity. In an age prior to the existence of musical impresarios, the Amateur Musical Club acted in this capacity, presenting concerts by some of the greatest artists of the period, including Jan Paderewski, José Iturbi, Alexander Scriabin, Dame Myra Hess, Edward MacDowell and the noted American violinist Maud Powell, to mention only a few.
One enduring goal
The spirit of philanthropy and of supporting women musicians developed early in the club’s history. In 1893, the proceeds of a benefit concert were used to establish and maintain a music scholarship for young women. Thus began one of the most important traditions of Musicians Club of Women—the awarding of annual scholarships to assist young women in furthering their musical studies.
Encouraging musical excellence
In 1954, the Farwell Awards were established by a bequest from the estate of Ava W. Farwell, a soprano who was a member of the club until her death in 1931.
Over the years, other generous individuals established scholarships, and currently the club awards over $80,000 annually to assist talented young women to move forward in the highly competitive field of music. To this day, MCW is composed entirely of volunteers, enabling all of its income to go directly to assisting women musicians.
Musicians Club of Women programs provide performance opportunities
To further its mission of promoting women musicians, MCW provides both monetary assistance through its scholarship program and performance opportunities.
Members and their guests enjoy a free series of monthly concerts held at the Union League Club of Chicago followed by an optional luncheon.
• Scholarship Auditions: MCW sponsors annual scholarship auditions for young women in voice, piano, winds and strings. Winners receive monetary awards and are presented in recital at the monthly MCW meetings.
• MCW Award Winners in Concert: This free monthly series, held at the Chicago Cultural Center, provides a highly visible performance opportunity for MCW’s award winners.
• MCW Artists in Recital: This free monthly series, held at the Fourth Presbyterian Church,North Michigan Avenue, features active performing members of MCW as well as award winners.
2012-2014 MUSICIANS CLUB OF WOMEN PRESIDENT