Musicians Club of Women (MCW)

is the oldest musical club in America. Founded in 1875, MCW is dedicated to promoting established and promising women in classical music through its scholarship program and performance opportunities.

The Story of Musicians Club of Women

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 a few.

Our Enduring Goal: Encouraging Musical Excellence

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—an annual scholarship awards audition which assists young women in furthering their musical studies.  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 awards.  Annually, MCW offers scholarships awards to support talented young women in the highly competitive field of classical music.

A Variety of Programs Offered

  • Monthly Meetings:  All 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 Award Winners as well as Active Members are presented in recital at these meetings.


  • Award Winners in Concert:  Held at Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, this free monthly series is open to the public and provides a highly visible performance opportunity for MCW’s award winners.  Concerts are presented on the fourth Monday of each month at 12:15 pm.


  • Artists in Recital:  MCW presents free, public concerts at Buchanan Chapel, Fourth Church of Chicago, North Michigan Avenue, on the first Friday of the months September - June  at 12:10 pm.  Active Members of MCW perform.


  • Salon Series: In the informal and friendly atmosphere of a fellow MCW member's home, Active Members perform for fellow Members and guests who then enjoy a social hour together.

Join Us!

Musicians Club of Women welcomes new members on an ongoing basis.  As a member, you will be in contact with a vibrant Chicago community of musicians and music lovers as we further our mission of promoting women in music.  Please visit How to Join for more information.