Maddalena Laura Lombardini Sirmen (1745–1818) was an exceptional figure in the history of music. She was one of the few women in the eighteenth century who managed to build a successful career as a violinist and composer.

Lombardini received her basic training at the Ospedale dei Mendicanti in Venice and honed her skills as a student of Giuseppe Tartini at the Scuola delle Nazioni. Yet despite this background, it was unusual, even frowned upon, for a woman to earn a living as an artist at the time. Playing the violin was considered particularly indecent, not least because of the physical movements involved.

A great deal has changed today. And still, time and again, we are struck by our namesake’s power and tenacity and we bow before her musical and creative prowess.