Maria Rosa Coccia

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Maria Rosa Coccia

Maria Rosa Coccia (4 January 1759 – November 1833) was an Italian harpsichordist and composer.


Maria Rosa Coccia was born in Rome and studied with Sante Pesci.[1] At the age of 13, Coccia composed six sonatas for harpsichord and the oratorio Daniello, which was performed the same year in the Oratory S. Filippo Neri, in defiance of a tradition that women were not allowed to attend the event.[2]

In 1716 Pope Clement XI had decreed that anyone practicing music in Rome must enter the Accademia di Santa Cecilia and pass the exam to become Maestro di Capella. At 16 Coccia passed the exam and received the title, but because of her gender was never allowed to execute the duties of the position, though her music was performed. As a practicing composer, she was admitted to Rome's Accademia de' Forti.[3]

In 1780 Maestro di Cappella Francesco Capalti of Narni Cathedral attacked Coccia’s examination composition and her receipt of the title. She was defended by Michele Mallio in his Elogio storico della signora Maria Rosa Coccia romana (Rome, 1780), containing letters of support from Metastasio, Carlo Broschi and Giovanni Battista Martini.[4] Pasquale Antonio Basili in 1784 published an open letter in defense of Coccia and against criticism of Capalti. Maria Rosa Coccia died in Rome.


Selected works include:

  • Six Sonatas for harpsichord
  • Daniello nel lago dei leoni, oratorio in two parts, Rome, Chiesa Nuova, 1772, lost
  • L'isola disabitata (P. Metastasio), 1772, lost
  • Hic vir despiciens mundum, fugue, 4 voices, Rome, 1774 (examination piece for Congregazione di S Cecilia, and Accademia Filarmonica, Bologna)
  • Magnificat, Soprano voice, Contralto voice, organ, 1774
  • Dixit Dominus, 8 voices, organ, 1775 (may be same as Dixit Dominus, 8 voices, violin, viola, oboe, flute, horn)
  • Il trionfo d'Enea, cantata in two parts, Soprano voice, Soprano voice, Contralto voice, Tenor voice, violin, viola, horn, trumpet, oboe, contrabbasso, basso continuo, ?1779
  • Arsinoe, cantata, 4 voices, orchestra, 1783
  • Confitebor, Soprano voice, Soprano voice, organ
  • ‘Qualche lagrime spargete’ from Semiramide, lost
  • Salve Regina, 2 voices, organ, n.d.
  • Veni Creator Spiritus, 4 voices, organ
  • 4 psalms, lost[4]


  1. ^ Sadie, Julie Anne; Samuel, Rhian (1994). The Norton/Grove dictionary of women composers (Digitized online by GoogleBooks). Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Heinrich, Adel (1991). Organ and harpsichord music by women composers: an annotated catalog. 
  3. ^ "MARIA ROSA COCCIA (1759-1833)". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Gallo, Denise. "Coccia Maria Rosa". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 

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