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the story of the

all-women's orchestra

in california

When the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrated is 100th anniversary in 2019, who remembered that The Los Angeles Women's Symphony was established in the 1890s, more than 25 years earlier?

What happened to the all-women performing ensembles in San Francisco, San Diego, Riverside, Glendale, Stockton, and elsewhere in the state, active between 1892 and 1955? 

Fueled by anecdotal information from women who played in those ensembles, Jeannie Gayle Pool's research is foundational. It paved the way to radio and video documentaries, articles, books, recordings, photography exhibitions and the legendary 1986 Tribute to the Pioneer Women Musicians of Los Angeles. Over 100 women, who had enjoyed professional music careers in the 1920s through the '50s, were celebrated.

This book offers a much-needed re-examination of the significant contribution by all-women ensembles to their California communities, and beyond. With more than 40 rare photographs, a bibliography, and other documents, it will inspire new study of these performing ensembles, integral to the stat'es internationally acclaimed musical culture.

The Story of the All-Women's Orchestras in California (2020), by Jeannie Gayle Pool. Foreword by Louise DiTullio, including bibliography by Stephen M. Fry. 158 pages. $9.95. Available through this website or through Amazon Books. 



Foreword by Louise DiTullio (Hollywood studio flutist)





Women in California Music Life

The 1880s in Los Angeles and the Founding of the Los Angeles Women’s Symphony

The Los Angeles Women’s Symphony, 1901-1939

San Francisco's Saturday Morning Orchestra

The Los Angeles Women's Symphony, 1901-1939

The Long Beach Woman’s Symphony Orchestra

The Pan-Pacific Woman’s Orchestra

The Ruth Haroldson Years of the Los Angeles Women’s Symphony

Women Musicians During World War II

Women’s Jazz Bands, 1920-1950

Peggy Gilbert and Her All-Girl Groups

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm

Clora Bryant and Black All-Women’s Bands, 1945-1955

The decline in the 1950s

Contemporary All-Women’s Groups

Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic

The Dixie Belles


Maiden Voyage

California All-Women Orchestras and Ensembles, 1893-1985

"The Story of the All-Women's Orchestras in California, 1893-1955, Bibliography," compiled by Stephen M. Fry, wth the assistance of Jeannie Pool

Program Booklet, Tribute to the Pioneer Women Musicians of Los Angeles

"All Women's Orchestras: An Historical Perspective," by Jeannie G. Pool, Paid My Dues, Summer 1978



About the Author

About Louise DiTullio


"This fascinating volume gives these neglected artists the respect they always deserved!"  Tom DiNardo, arts writer" - Philadelphia Daily News

"The determined, pioneering efforts of these early California women musicians paved the way for so many of us."  - Deon Nielsen Price, composer, pianist, author, educator

all women orchestra cover.jpg

Cover design: Beverly Simmons, 

ffortissimo Design

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