Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Monday Link Round Up: August 20, 2018

by sarah - August 20th, 2018

News and music to start your week!

The Philadelphia Orchestra is collaborating with American Composers Orchestra to offer a closed reading session for six up-and-coming women composers.  Though not open to the public, the ensemble will perform and critique each work with the composer and administration from other ensembles in an effort to have more widespread knowledge of the composers.  Learn more about this unique new venture at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As we approach the start of the new school year, the timely article at Musicology Now addresses issues of accessibility in the music history classroom.  Written by Kimberly Francis, Michael Accinno and Meagan Troop, the writers offer thoughtful observations and creative solutions – and an excellent reminder about the different needs that can all too often be ignored.

At Brass Chicks (for Women Who Kick Brass), Chloe Louise Swindler – a Boston-based trumpet player – shares her experiences in an article titled, How My Ethnicity Has Shaped Me as a Musician.  She discusses her experience not only of recognizing early on the lack of women in the brass world, but also the lack of diversity in classical music more generally – and how she plans to move on from here.

At The Telegraph, two of the composers being heard at this year’s Proms (Roxanna Panufnik and Anna Meredith) discuss with reporter Ivan Hewett about the changes that are happening at The Proms when it comes to representation and diversity in programming.

The Boston Landmarks Orchestra is performing Amy Beach’s Bal Masqué on Aug. 22, as part of a lively (and free) program celebrating dance.  They will use our new edition of the work — learn more about Bal Masqué.

AND — help spread the word about our Performance Grants!

Let us know what we missed!  Email  [email protected]

Beach’s Bal Masqué in Boston Performance

by Liane Curtis - August 19th, 2018

Amy Beach’s delightful waltz, Bal Masqué, op. 22, is part of this week’s concert by Boston’s Landmark Orchestra.  Titled “Symphonic Dances” the Aug. 22 event features “music to move by” with professional and community dancers.  Directed by Christopher Wilkins, the concert is free to all.

Bal Masqué is unique in Beach’s output as a single-movement orchestral work.  It is handy for programming, and thus this lovely waltz was performed in 2000 by the Boston Pops (directed by Keith Lockhart) at the concert where the addition of Beach’s name to the composers’ names on  Boston’s Hatch Shell was unveiled (described in detail here).  Like most of her orchestral music, the performance materials were never engraved – hand-copied score and parts served as the performance materials.  Thus Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy undertook the editing and engraving of the score and parts as part of our celebration of Beach’s 150th birth anniversary last year (engraved and edited by Chris A. Trotman).  We hoped that this new edition would encourage performances, and we are happy to say that is happening!  😀

Bal Masqué is Beach’s orchestral version of the piano work of the same title, published in 1894.  But the melodies in Bal Masqué are found in two of her other works.  The song, “Wouldn’t That be Queer,” part of the set of opus 26 published in the same year, shares melodic content with the “A” part of the Bal Masqué’s tripartite ABA form.  Presumably the song predates the instrumental version, since reading a poem (in this case one by Elsie J. Cooley) usually suggests a melody to a composer.

The middle “B” section of Bal Masqué is an arrangement of mvt. 4, “Pierrot and Pierrette” from Beach’s Children’s Carnival, Op. 25, for solo piano.  Was the lilting melody extracted from Op. 22 to make a movement for the children’s suite?  Or did she create the melody as a separate movement and then later decide to frame it with the tune of “Wouldn’t that be Queer” to form a longer, multi-section waltz?  As yet, there is no definitive answer to this question.

In a further recycling Beach would later arrange “Wouldn’t that be queer” for women’s three-part chorus and piano (published 1919).  Beach’s self-borrowings are many, and are a rich topic of study.  Clearly, she wanted her striking melodic ideas to be put to a wide use and be heard in a range of contexts.

Here’s a recording of the orchestral Bal Masqué


Monday Link Round Up: August 13, 2018

by sarah - August 13th, 2018

News and music to start your week!

Hugely important piece by composer and musician Elizabeth Baker at New Music Box. In part:

Elizabeth A. Baker

Elizabeth A. Baker, photo from https://soundcloud.com/elizabethabakermusic

The problem continues when organizations promote “diversity initiatives” using only images of cisgender white women. What these actions and inactions tell women who look like me—women of color, and individuals for whom I am an ally, including non-binary and queer women—is that our voices and, more poignantly, our faces are not welcome in this conversation. Personally, it has the effect of taking my agency as a woman away from me. When people mention the breakthroughs of women composers, I do not identify with these achievements as a part of the evolution that paves my path in the music industry. The more I talk to other women of color hailing from nations across the globe, the more I understand how the subconscious presentation of diversity framed exclusively as a “middle-class white cisgender woman’s problem” has the ripple effect of silencing women of varied ethnic backgrounds and gender identities.

Samson Baughman writes at I Care if You Listen about representation matters on the concert stage even outside program choices.  Speaking from personal experience, Baughman offers perspective as “the” black musician in an ensemble, and offers readers ways to support diverse musicians and ensembles moving forward.

Lisa Houston writes in The San Francisco Classical Voice about the work of Missy Mazzoli and, specifically, her ventures into opera.  Learn more about Mazzoli’s performing career, including with her own ensembles, and her influences for operatic writing.

The Egyptian orchestra made up entirely of blind women is continuing to impress.  Read more, and watch a video of the Light and Hope Orchestra, at TRTWorld.

BBC 3 and the Ulster Orchestra (in Belfast) continue with a series of free concerts featuring major works by women, including Jessie Montgomery, Nina C. Young, Roxanna Panufnik and Clara Schumann.

What have we missed?  Opinions or comments?  Let us know!  email [email protected]



Monday Link Round Up: August 6, 2018

by sarah - August 6th, 2018

News to start your week!

What better way to tackle the new week than a fantastic conversation?  Elizabeth Blair speaks with Emily Doolittle in the most recent episode of Listening to Ladies.  Learn more at the website, with lots of links and music, stream the episode through your favorite podcast app, or in the player below!

Calls for Participation are open for the 2019 Women Composers Festival of Hartford!  There are seeking compositions for the Ensemble-In-Residence, composers & performers for the annual Music Marathon, and presenters & performers for the Women Composers Forum.  Learn more at their website – and spread the word!

In a delightful change of programming, and response to national outcry at their predictable and stogy programming, The Philadelphia Orchestra has altered their plans for the 2018-2019 season to include works by two women composers.  They will perform the US Premiere of Perspectives by Stacey Brown in November, and Masquerade by Anna Clyne in June.  Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer.  The story was also covered by NPR.

Podcaster (and pianist) Kai Talim let us know about his far-ranging conversation with conductor Mei-Ann Chen in a recent episode of Skip the Repeat.  We interviewed in Maestro Chen in 2013 when she was busy leading performances of music by Florence PriceMei-Ann Chen continues to build her conducting career with Asian and European engagements, as well as continuing as Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta. But, as she discusses with Kai Talim, her big professional breakthrough was her appointment as Musical Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic.


And, from the blogosphere, we ran across Heather Roche’s report on the Royal Philharmonic Society’s conducting workshop for professional women musicians new to conducting.  Roche was pleased to be invited to apply, but taken aback that the workshop included no repertoire by female composers.  Her response was this post of five suggestions of pre-1950 works by women.  We applaud her ideas heartily, but also want to emphasize that all conducting classes — not just ones for women — should include music by women.  OK! Now we’d better get busy sending that message to directors of conducting classes!
We would love to know what you think!  Email at [email protected]

Monday Link Round Up: July 30, 2018

by sarah - July 30th, 2018

News and music to start your week!

A fascinating article by composer Jenny Giering who compares her own experiences with visions she experienced with migraines and the visions described by Abbess Hildegard von Bingen as she received music and instruction.  It is featured in a series discussing disability in The New York Times.

Siobhán Cleary

Irish composer Siobhán Cleary has brought to light the systematic and persistent discrimination that can be found in the music world.  The Irish Times just reported the Cleary has turned down a commission offered by two Irish Arts Council-funded organizations because she was offered 20% less than her male colleagues have been for the same commission.

Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone co-authored an extensive piece for The Washington Post about the culture of sexual harassment and abuse in the classical music community.  The article details many specific incidents, and how the #MeToo movement can impact changes moving forward.

I Care if You Listen spoke to Gabriella Smith about her music, where she finds inspiration, and the challenges with working with vastly different forms and ensembles.

Finally, we wanted to share Inge Klopfer‘s “So sexistisch ist die Klassik  — Classical Music is So Sexist” which appeared on June 13, 2018 in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.  So here’s our translation of it!

We’d love to hear from you!  Write us at [email protected]!