Presenting Two New Honorary Music Members

By Kathy Pate, Music Editor

A warm welcome to our two new honorary music members: Judy Collins and Beth Nielsen Chapman. They each embody the driving force of Pen Women, having devoted their lives to writing and performing amazing music, teaching, and community service, as well as being very successful in the music field. We are honored to include them in our membership.

Judy Collins

Judy Collins has not only written many of her own wonderful songs, she has also championed other singer-songwriters and composers and turned their songs into major hits. Among them are Joni Mitchell (“Both Sides Now,” 1967, now in the Grammy Hall of Fame), Stephen Sondheim (“Send In the Clowns,” 1975, which received the 1975 Grammy for Song of the Year), Leonard Cohen, and Randy Newman. She has recorded 55 albums over the course of her career.


Judy Collins

Collins still performs 120 days per year, both in the United States and abroad. She toured recently with Stephen Stills. Her 2016 album, “Silver Skies Blue,” written and performed with Ari Hest, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Folk Album in 2017 (her first Grammy nomination in over 40 years).

Her live specials (all released on DVD/CD) recorded in recent years include:

  • “Judy Collins Live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” which she filmed in 2012 and also aired on PBS (nominated for an Emmy) and earned her a Bronze Medal at the 2013 New York Festival International Television & Film Awards.
  • “Live in Ireland,” which she filmed at Dromoland Castle in 2014 and won her a Bronze Medal at the 2014 New York Festival International Television & Film Awards (also broadcast on PBS in 2014 and 2015).
  • “Judy Collins: A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim,” which she filmed in 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
  • 2019 “Winter Stories, Live at the Oslo Opera” (2019), which will run throughout fall 2020 as a PBS pledge drive. She performed with Norwegian folk artist Jonas Fjeld and masterful Americana band Chatham County Line, her most recent touring partners.

Although Collins was a classically trained piano prodigy as a teenager, once she discovered the guitar and folk music, her path blossomed into what has become a 60-year career. And she is still going strong.

She has written a few books about her life, career and struggles, as well as co-directed the Academy Award-nominated film “Portrait of a Woman” about Antonia Brico, her childhood classical piano teacher and the first world-class female symphonic conductor.

More details about Collins can be found on her website,, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Beth Nielsen Chapman has been writing songs since the age of 11 and performing most of her life. Her songs are written about her life experiences with unabashed honesty, as she pulls the audience into and through the craziness of life and relationships, and topics as diverse as the universe.


Beth Nielsen Chapman

Chapman was recently inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. With 13 solo albums to date, she has composed seven No.1 hits. Her songs have been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo’, Roberta Flack, Waylon Jennings, Indigo Girls, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, and Faith Hill. Her music can be heard in films (“Message in a Bottle,” “The Rookie,” “Practical Magic”) and on TV.

Chapman’s 2012 Grammy-nominated CD, “The Mighty Sky,” was written about our universe as a learning tool for children. Her song, “Sand & Water (1997), written after her husband died, was sung by Elton John in honor of Princess Diana. She collaborated and toured in 2016 with Olivia Newton-John and Amy Sky as part of a project called “Live On — A New Album to Aid & Comfort Those Experiencing Grief & Loss While Using the Power of Music to Heal.”
She considers herself a “creativity midwife” and is “passionate about inspiring others to fully blossom into their creative life.”

Along with her concerts, Chapman serves as a keynote speaker at events and teaches workshops on creativity, songwriting, grief, and healing through art. She has taught at the Berklee School of Music, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. She is also an environmentalist and a breast cancer survivor.

This fall, Chapman will release her 15th solo album and in fall 2021, she will give a world tour beginning with the United Kingdom in October. More information can be found at, and she also has an active Facebook page.