Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Monday Link Round Up: June 27, 2016

by sarah - June 27th, 2016

News to start your week!

Dallas Opera Conducting Institute has announced the 2016 participants!  The winners this year are:

Elizabeth Askren (USA), a graduate of Bard’s Conducting Institute who has been an assistant music director at the Concertgebouw;
Mihaela Cesa-Goje (Romania), winner of a 2011 Dudamel Fellowship;
Alexandra Cravero (France), who has led several operas and symphonies in Europe;
Tianyi Lu (New Zealand), a junior fellow in conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama;
Chaowen Ting (USA), conductor of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra and protégé of Bernard Haitink;
Zoe Zeniodi (Greece), who has led productions at the Florida Grand and Greek National operas.

Read the Press Release at the Dallas Opera website, and a conversation with the Dallas Opera’s General Director and CEO Keith Cerney at WQXR.


Musicologist Joseph Horowitz has a thoughtful piece about the future of American orchestras at his blog The Unanswered Question.  It is also a great summation of the conversations that took place at the League of American Orchestra conference that happened in the beginning of this month – WPA was also at the conference advocating for more diverse repertoire.


What have you been reading?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Much to Celebrate at National Women’s Music Festival!

by sarah - June 22nd, 2016

The 41st annual National Women’s Music Festival is taking place June 30-July 3 in Middleton, WI.  Each year the Festival celebrates women’s work across musical genres with exciting performances and workshops.  We are especially excited this year to support the National Women’s Music Festival Orchestra with a WPA Performance Grant in the commissioning of a new work by Mary Watkins.

Nan Washburn

The NWMF Orchestra will premiere the work on Saturday, July 2 under the direction of long-time advocate for the work of women composers,  Nan Washburn.  Throughout her career, Washburn has been a clear and distinct voice for music by women –  as conductor of The Women’s Philharmonic, founder Community Women’s Orchestra, and member of the WPA Board of Directors.  This year she is also being honored by NWMF organizers, having been named the recipient of the Jeanine C. Rae Award for the Advancement of Women’s Culture.

From the announcement:

The Jeanine C. Rae Award for the Advancement of Women’s Culture:
Jeanine c. Rae was a guiding light to many women’s journeys during the women’s movement in the 1970s and early ‘80s. An ordained minister, psychotherapist, political activist, and the mother of three children, Jeanine touched the lives of innumerable women throughout her short lifetime. She was a co-founder and co-owner of The Women’s Touch, Indianapolis’ first women’s bookstore and counseling center, in 1976. She was one of the midwives to the rebirth of NWMF during its move from Champaign, Illinois, to Bloomington. Her spirit continues to nurture the soul of this festival.
Awarded to Nan Harrison Washburn for her advocacy of orchestra works by women composers through research, education and programming. She researched and reconstructed historical scores, commissioned new works, and programmed and performed more women composers than any other conductor in the United States of any orchestra size. Washburn has rescued many works from obscurity so that we may hear what for centuries was silent.
Congratulations to Nan, and the entire Festival, for the continued work towards hearing a diverse range women’s voices!  For those of us unable to make the trip, we can still support the excellent work of the NWMF.

Monday Link Round Up: June 20, 2016

by sarah - June 20th, 2016

News to start your week!

Eleanor Sokoloff, piano teacher at the Curtis Institute, is celebrating her 102nd birthday.  She has taught at the institution since 1936.  The Philadelphia Inquirer has a profile.


There’s a new festival celebrating the work of women in electronic music.  Some of the pioneers being honored include Daphne Oram, Laurie Spiegel, and Pauline Oliveros.  Read more at The Guardian.


Much has already been discussed about the upcoming historic performance of Kaija Saariaho’s opera at the MET in the 2016-2017 season.  Ronnie Seter has more to add to the discussion with a new piece at Musicology Now, the AMS blog, about her conversations with Saariaho.  The full piece is here.


The June WPA newsletter was sent out last week.  Miss getting your copy?  Read it online here!


What did we miss?  What are you reading?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Honoring Fathers

by sarah - June 17th, 2016

It can be hard to look past the stories of those composers who faced obstacles in their art at the hands of their own parents.  There are some famous stories – from Germaine Tailleferre, who changed her name to break ties with her father, and Ethel Smyth, who had to battle her dad to be able to study and work in music.

However!  Father’s Day weekend is a great time to remember and be thankful for the fathers who supported their daughters, even when it went against social expectations or propriety.  Here are just a few of the many examples of father standing up for their daughters.


The daughter of two musicians, Francesca Caccini (1587- after 1641) received an amazing education.  Her father, Giulio Caccini (1555-1618) helped educate his daughter, who became one of the first women to achieve a professional career as a musician.  She was a virtuosic singer and prolific composer.





Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677) was the adopted (and historians believe likely the
natural) daughter of Giulio Strozzi, a writer, librettist, and founding member of the leading Venetian academy of the period.  Giulio so encouraged his daughter’s talent that he sought out Italy’s greatest composer of the time, Francesco Cavalli, to teach Strozzi, and founded an academy to display her gifts as a singer.



Pauline Viardot-Garcia (1821-1910) had a tremendous career as an opera singer and composer, and traveled the world throughout her career.  She came from a family of opera singers, and Viardot-Garcia was trained first by members of her family – including her father, Manuel Garcia.




Though not a professional musician himself, Manuel Antonio Carreño recognized the talent of his daughter Maria Teresa Carreño (1853-1917) from an early age.  He gave Carreño her first lessons at the piano, and moved the family to the United States from Venezuela to seek more opportunities for the young prodigy.




Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz’s (1909-1969) father was her first music teacher, training his daughter in piano and violin, and encouraging composition.  (Reportedly, her first extant work is a march for piano composed at age 11.)  Bacewicz was a prolific composer, and is one of Poland’s most well regarded composers.

In a time when deviating from the norm was a reflection not only on the individual, but of the respectability of the family, we can celebrate that  so many fathers stood against the discriminations that their daughters faced.


Monday Link Round Up: June 13, 2016

by sarah - June 13th, 2016


Thinking about, and grieving for, Orlando.


ArtsHub published an article by Sally Macarthur, Cat Hope, and Dawn Bennett highlights the gender disparities for women composers in Australia.  (The original version of the article was published on The Conversation.)


Aljazeera has the story of two Iranian women coming together to explore and celebrate the rich diversity in the ethnic music of Iran.  The clarinet and guitar duo is called Naqsh Duo – read more here.


Composer and sound artist Melanie Wilson has an editorial in The Guardian discussing her new work, Opera for the Unknown Woman, and the importance of hearing women’s voices.


The Guardian also has a profile of composer Caroline Shaw, the youngest musician to win a Pulitzer Prize.  She skillfully walks the line between classical and popular music, and is certainly a voice to watch.


And don’t forget to download your June WPA Calendar!


What did we miss?  What are you reading?  As always, leave a comment and let us know!

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our Feed