Sophie Lewis Drinker (born Sophie Lewis Hutchinson) (August 24, 1888 – September 6, 1967) was an American author, musician, and musicologist. She is considered a founder of women's musicological and gender studies.
Born Sophie Lewis Hutchinson on 24 August 1888 in Haverford, Philadelphia, to Sydney Pemberton Hutchinson and Amy Lewis, she enjoyed a genteel childhood with nannies and domestic staff. The Hutchinson family had a high social status, and dated back to the seventeenth century. As a child, she had piano lessons and developed a general interest in music, and attended St. Timothy's School, an exclusive private school in Maryland. Upon graduation in 1906, Hutchinson was accepted to Bryn Mawr College, but she decided against attending.
In 1911, she married Henry Sandwith Drinker, a lawyer and musicologist, and moved with him to Merion, Pennsylvania. Henry Drinker was a successful lawyer, but spent every minute of his spare time playing music, a passionate hobby that was as important to him as his real profession. Apart from active music-making, he devoted himself to the translation of the German text of vocal compositions of great composers into English. Among them are Schubert's songs and Haydn's Creation, and a variety of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, among others, the Christmas Oratorio, the St. John Passion and the St. Matthew Passion.
The couple had five children together: Sophie, Henry S., Jr., Cecelia, Ernesta, and Pemberton, all of whom had daily music lessons, and the whole family sat down together regularly to sing . They often visited musical events such as concerts, opera performances and music festivals, and were for 25 years subscribers to the Philadelphia Orchestra.
In 1928, the Drinkers built a new house, which contained a large music room where they regularly organized singing evenings, and sometimes they used the premises of the American Musicological Society for their gatherings. Most well-known were their exclusive singing parties that were invitation only, and involved a dinner prepared by the Drinker household staff with group song and music before and after. Oftentimes these evenings involved the accompaniment of musicians invited from prestigious institutions, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra and Curtis Institute.
Sophie Drinker's attention lighted on the fact that there was very little quality music for female choirs, and saw that there were few women composers. This prompted her to conduct extensive research about women and their place in music history. Her results were presented in the book Music and Women: The Story of Women in Their Relation to Music which appeared in 1948. The book is considered of great importance for music research - especially in the field of gender studies in music - and highlighted the lack of equality for women in music. It brought this fact into the public consciousness.
During her life she published other writings, including the book Brahms and His Women's Choruses (1952) and articles like What Price Women's Chorus? for Music Journal in 1954. Here she developed criteria for compositions for women's choirs which in her view would utilize the full range of the female voice.
In 1965 Sophie Drinker wrote her memoirs, but they were meant for her family and have remained unpublished.
On 6 September 1967, she died of cancer.
- Music and women: the story of women in their relation to music . New York, 1948.
- Brahms and his women's choruses . Merion 1952
- What Price Women's Choruses, in: Musical Journal 12/1, (1954), p. 19 & 42f.
- The woman in the music. A sociological study . Zurich: Atlantis 1955th (German translation: Karl and Irene Geiringer).
- Hannah Penn and the proprietorship of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: Priv. print. under the auspices of the National Society of the *Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1958
- Eugenie with Andrus Leonard, Miriam Young Holden: The American Woman in colonial and Revolutionary times, 1565-1800: a syllabus with bibliography . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 1962nd
- Music in America: Women Patrons and Activists since 1860 Ruth A Solie, Locke, Ralph P., and Cyrilla Barr, editors . Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 1997.
- Sophie Drinker Institute Germany, Brief Biography, accessed October 2012
- Women in Music: A Research and Information Guide By Karin Pendle, Melinda Boyd, Routledge, 2012 ISBN 1135848130
- Sophie Hutchinson Drinker Papers Finding Aid, Sophia Smith Collection
- Women in Music full text available at the Internet Archive. Accessed October 2012