Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Monday Link Round Up: December 5, 2016

by sarah - December 5th, 2016

News to start your week!

On December 1 the Met Opera performed  L’Amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho.  This historic Met premiere marked only the second time a work by a woman composer has been heard at the institution – the last being over a century ago.  Many great stories and conversations have already come out of this event, and I’m sure there are more to come!  Here are some highlights.

David Patrick Stearns has a review on WQXR.

New Music Box has a profile of Saariaho’s career that led to having her work heard in one of the greatest opera venues in the world.

NPR had a conversation with Saariaho on Weekend Edition Saturday – read online, or listen below:

The news of the premiere has also created a spotlight on other women composers.  Even MentalFloss has a profile of Ethel Smyth – the first woman composer to have her work performed at the Met, in 1903.  And Alice Gregory of The New York Times has a woman-only history of classical music that is a good start (though rather abbreviated) history of the work of women in music.  But, we need to start somewhere, right?

For more on contemporary women’s voices, have a listen to BBC Radio 3’s Inspiring Women in Music series – and a conversation with composer Nicola LeFanu.

Finally, Gramophone Magazine notes the value of diverse music – but also the significant lack of recordings of works by women composers.  There are recordings out there – though not always still commercially available (and who shops used CD stores anymore?)  But this speaks to a wider problem of encouraging contemporary performers to record historic and contemporary works by women composers.

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

December Calendar is LIVE!

by sarah - December 2nd, 2016

Our final installment of the 2016 WPA Calendar is now live and ready for download!


Be sure to get your copy here – and share with friends!

If you’ve loved this calendar this year as much as we have loved putting it together, you can stay up to date in 2017 with an updated, printed calendar as a thank you gift from WPA for our current end of year campaign!  Find out more at Generosity.com.

Monday Link Round Up: November 28, 2016

by sarah - November 28th, 2016

News to start your week!

First, some very sad news of the death of a pioneer.  Pauline Oliveros has passed at age 84.  There are many remembrances and tributes.   The Guardian has a remembrance, Alex Ross invites readers to listen in, and NPR included a story about her life and work yesterday on All Things Considered.  Read here, or listen below:


The Met Opera premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s opera L’Amour de Loin on December 1 is already generating quite a lot of press.  The New York Times has a guide to the composer, the work, and the historic significance – which also notes that Susanna Malkki will be conducting the premiere.  Daniel Wenger has a profile on the composer in the November 24th edition of The New Yorker.


Other notable news this week includes two stories about women in jazz.  The first, from JazzPolice.com, tells the story of the Swing Sisterhood Big Band – and all female ensemble that continues to break down barriers in the jazz community.   The second is of guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson, in a conversation with NPR.  Read the transcript here, or listen below:


As always – let us know what we missed!  What have you been reading?  Leave a link and a comment below!

Monday Link Round Up: November 21, 2016

by sarah - November 21st, 2016

News to start your week!

Meredith Monk is celebrating her 74th birthday!  Sequenza 21 has a birthday tribute, and review of her newest recording, here.


Last week we shared an article about cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason who is working for more diverse representation in classical music.  This week The Guardian has another interview with Kanneh-Mason before the premiere of a BBC4 documentary, Young, Gifted and Classical: The Making of A Maestro” as part of their Black and British series.


The Guardian also has a review of a recent performance by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, led by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.  The concert included a work by Lithuanian composer Raminta Šerkšnytė.  Read the five-star review here!


Rising conductor Elim Chan wrote an editorial for The Guardian about her experiences as a young musician and fledgling conductor.  An excerpt:

My core priorities have always been and will always be the music and the audience, and I think audiences over the past two years have come to see me simply as Elim, rather than under the labels “Asian” or “female conductor”. When I won  [the Flick-LSO conducting competition] in 2014, being the first female winner in the competition’s history wasn’t something that came into my mind straight away. But, of course, lots of press coverage focused on my gender. Undoubtedly it’s a huge honour, and I am glad that I can say that I have broken a glass ceiling. I’m only where I am today because of such inspirational women – conductors such as Marin Alsop, JoAnn Falletta and Susanna Mälkki who have forged their way into the male-dominated business and made it easier for me and my colleagues today.

Read on here!


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


Announcing the 2016 Performance Grant Winners

by sarah - November 16th, 2016

header-copy-1We were thrilled by the number of applications we’ve received this year – and the diverse range of programming ideas!  It is always energizing to hear about the good work being done by ensembles across the country, and the amazing partnerships and collaborations that are being created to highlight not only the value of the arts, but the value of diversity in the arts.

After some tough decision making, the judges – made up of the WPA Board of Directors – awarded funding to 33 professional, community, and student ensembles from across the country.  Congratulations to all of the winners for their exciting programming and excellent applications!

Among the composers that we can anticipate hearing in the coming seasons are Amy Beach, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Florence Price, Ethel Smyth, Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Louise Farrenc, Lili Boulanger, Louise Talma, Clara Schumann, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, and Elfrida Andrée.

The strongest applications planned to perform works by more than one composer, included at least one work by a historic composer, and incorporated thoughtful outreach events to help further engage and educate the larger community.  Find the full list of winners below, and stay tuned to the blog and newsletter for more information about each concert as it approaches!


American Composers Orchestra

Bangor Symphony Orchestra

Bar Harbor Festival String Orchestra

Bay Area Rainbow Symphony

Boston Landmarks Orchestra

Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra

Chamber Orchestra of the Springs

Chicago Sinfonietta

Cincinnati Soundbox Orchestra

Community Women’s Orchestra

Denver Young Artists Orchestra

Eastern CT Symphony Orchestra

Ensemble Tremblay

Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra

Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra


Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra

Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra

National String Symphonia

New Haven Symphony Orchestra

North/South Chamber Orchestra

Orchestra of the League of Composers

Portland Youth Philharmonic

Prometheus Symphony Orchestra

Rogue Valley Symphony

Seattle Collaborative Orchestra

Stockton Symphony

Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Number One

Symphony Orchestra Augusta

Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra

Westminster Community Orchestra

Willamette Falls Symphony