The Sophie Archive is a digital library containing works by German female authors, artists, and composers. The text portion of the archive contains approximately 245 titles (295 volumes) by German-language women writing between 1740 and 1923. These texts - which have previously been out of print and difficult to access - include a broad spectrum of genres, including novels, stories, dramas, autobiographies, letters, travel journals, and poetry. The archive is sponsored by the Coalition of Women in German with funding from Brigham Young University's College of Humanities, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages, ORCA, and Women's Research Institute. A grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Arts is currently in progress.
Early in 2002 Dr. Ruth Christensen of the School of Music was introduced to the Sophie Digital Archive by Dr. Michele Stott James and Dr. Robert McFarland of the Department of the Germanic and Slavic languages. Together they initiated an interdisciplinary research and performance project for the students of these academic areas. During the summer of 2002 five students participated with Dr. McFarland in BYU's Study Abroad program in Vienna, as well as travel to Frankfurt to the Frau und Musik Internationaler Arbeitskreis archive, where they retrieved several musical scores by German female composers. The first annual Sophie's Daughters recital, held in October 2002, was the result of these score acquisitions. In July of 2003 Dr. Christensen again traveled to the archive in Frankfurt, where she acquired further compositions for upcoming recitals at BYU, and - together with recent BYU graduates Jeremy Whittaker and Justin Whittaker - interviewed Rolf and Maria Greger, relatives of Luise Greger. The result of her latest research is tonight's performance of twenty-one Lieder (songs) by Luise Greger, seventeen of which were retrieved from Luise's grandson and his wife. Other songs given to Dr. Christensen from the Greger family were also gratefully received by the Frau und Musik archive in Frankfurt. Only half of the nearly fifty songs gathered this summer will be performed tonight.
Many thanks to Rolf, Maria, and Helmut Greger of Kassel, Germany, for the time and information provided on Luise's life and music; to brothers Jeremy and Justin Whittaker, without whom an interview with Rolf and Maria would never have taken place; to Dr. Robert McFarland for his boundless energy, enthusiasm, and keen research help; to the many student assistants in the Department of German and Slavic Languages for their research assistance; to the performers and the School of Music; and finally, to Luise Greger. Most of these pieces are heard for the first time in America at tonight's performance, which is being recorded for inclusion on the digital database.