The daughter of a minor nobleman, Maria Teresa Agnesi was born in Milan in 1720. Her social standing led to a well-rounded education in music, the arts, and other learned disciplines. Her sister, Maria Gaetana, was a math and language prodigy; the duo would travel across Europe, demonstrating their skills to other members of the aristocracy. Maria Teresa married Pier Antonio Pinottini in 1752, though he led the young couple to financial ruin. After his death, Agnesi was supported by a number of patrons, most notably Maria Theresia, Holy Roman Empress, who was a staunch supporter of the Enlightenment and the rights of women. Most of her surviving compositions are for keyboard instruments and the voice. There are records, however, that suggest she wrote six operas.
For more information:
Pamela Youngdahl Dees. A Guide to Piano Music by Women Composers. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Mary French McVicker. Women Opera Composers: Biographies from the 1500s to the 21st Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2016.