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In Women of Influence in Contemporary Music: Nine American Composers, Michael K. Slayton has collected essays, which focus on women who have made significant contributions to American music: Elizabeth Austin, Susan Botti, Gabriela Lena Frank, Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Tania Leon, Cindy McTee, Marga Richter, and Judith Shatin. While these composers have much in common, not least of all dedication to their art, their individual stories reveal different impulses in American music. Their works reflect the shifting societal landscapes in the United States over the last seven decades, as well as different stylistic approaches to writing music. Each chapter includes a biography of the composer, an interview, and a detailed analysis of one major composition. The composers openly reflect on their individual journeys, in which they have discovered respective musical languages and have found success during different times in history. Because few music books focus solely on female composers, Women of Influence in Contemporary Music offers a rare glimpse into the styles and attitudes of gifted women and their work.