Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

California Premiere of Street Requiem

by sarah - August 26th, 2015

street+reqWe wrote about this fantastic project in January when the work received its U.S. Premiere.  The Cantata,which addressed topics of homelessness and street violence, is an impressive undertaking and seemingly builds community wherever it is presented.  As we saw earlier this year, the work, which requires an orchestra and several choirs, as well as soloists, becomes a passion project for everyone involved.  The California performance, like the Dallas premiere, will feature world-reknowned opera star Frederica von Stade.

The powerful work was a collaboration among Kathleen McGuire, Andy Payne, and Jonathan Welch.  The San Francisco Bay Times wrote a feature on the upcoming performances, which will take place on August 29 in San Francisco and August 30 in San Mateo in which McGuire is quoted as saying:

Street Requiem provides an opportunity to mourn those we’ve lost—often ‘nameless’ on our streets—and to protest the tragic injustices we witness every day. These are global issues, but we can each make a difference, one by one. Ms. von Stade’s generous participation is a testament to the importance of this project and the wider cause.

These concerts will be a benefit for Singers of the Street, a choir that McGuire began in 2010 of individuals who have experienced, or are at risk of, homelessness.

NPR covered the story of the work and the premiere in February – listen in here to get a sense of the power of this piece and the lives that it has touched:

Learn more on the Street Requiem website, and keep informed as to new developments and performances on the FaceBook Page.

Announcing the 2015 Performance Grants

by sarah - August 25th, 2015

As we strive to encourage better representation for works by women in concert halls and classrooms, we acknowledge that there are continued obstacles that educators, administrations, and ensembles need to overcome – including financial barriers.  For this reason we at Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy are thrilled to once again offer Performance Grants in support of inclusive and diverse programming.

We are now accepting applications from professional, community, and youth ensembles who are interested in expanding their repertoire and further engaging their audiences.  Read more about the 2012 Grant Recipients and the 2014 Grant Recipients and begin to explore the repertoire of works by women that have been overlooked for too long – we offer some suggestions here.  Applications for the 2015 grant cycle are due on October 1.

Begin your online application today!

Monday Link Round Up: August 24, 2015

by sarah - August 24th, 2015

Start the week off right with some fresh links:

We wrote last week about Jessy McCabe, the student in London who is petitioning for the school curriculum and exams to include works by women.  Her petition is closing in on 2,500 signatures, and there is still time to add yours!

Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir has received much well-deserved attention as of late for her recent awards and commissions.  This past week NPR shared a First Listen of Thorvaldsdottir’s latest album, In the Light of Air. Learn more on the NPR website, or listen below:


The Guardian has a review of a new album by Sadie Harrison titled Solos and Duos for Strings and Piano. Listen here:



Now your turn!  Leave us a comment to let us know what you’ve been reading or listening to!

Celebrating 75 Years at Tanglewood

by sarah - August 21st, 2015

Tanglewood TanglewoodThe annual Tanglewood Festival hosts thousands of concert goers each year, drawn to the beautiful scenery and amazing music at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home.  Over the past 75 years, the Tanglewood Music Center has also drawn devotees annually – but as students and faculty, eager to learn, engage, and explore a range of established classics and new additions to the repertoire.

In honor of this celebration year, 35 new works have been commissioned from composers who all have a connection to Tanglewood.  Included are:

Yi Yiing Chen – Forest Labyrinth

Helen Grime – Embrace

Betsy Jolas – Rambles thru 44: The Mysterious Stranger

Andreia Pinto-Correia – Timeaus

Shulamit Ran – Birkat Haderekh: Blessing for the Road

Augusta Read-Thomas – Selene: Moon Chariot Rituals

(A total of 6 women out of 31 composers.)

Though the festival is quickly approaching the final concerts of the 2015 season, you can rTanglewoodead more about the project at The Wall Street Journal where Allan Kozinn reviews several of the works.

A Call to Action

by sarah - August 19th, 2015

REALLY Think Outside the Bachs-WOMEN_COMPOSERSThis past year has brought about important conversations about women’s work in music, and many highly publicized opportunities for the public at large to become more informed and engaged with often-neglected music.  Laura Seddon mentioned in her guest blog that though well-intentioned, these efforts often fall far short of real and lasting change.  But it seems as though there is some hope on the horizon.

A student in the UK has created a petition to include works by women composers in the A-level syllabus and exams.  Jessy McCabe, who is 17 years old, reached out to the Music Head of Edexcel (an international British education and examination board) with her request to include more works by women in the curriculum but was given a less than satisfactory answer.  From the story at Sinfini Music:

Edexcel’s current A2 Music syllabus, which dates from 2008, gives students the opportunity to study 63 set works, all by male composers. However, when Ms McCabe wrote to Edexcel’s Head of Music to complain, she was told that ‘there would be very few female composers that could be included’ – a statement that the student disputes.

Despite the exam board saying that they were ‘keen to involve more work from female composers’, Ms McCabe said she found that an updated version of the syllabus due to be introduced in 2016 also does not include any works by female composers.

Taking matters into her own hands, McCabe has started a petition at Change.org which already has 1,000 signatures.  Add your own name here – and follow McCabe on Twitter for more updates!



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