Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Monday Link Round Up: May 22, 2017

by sarah - May 22nd, 2017

News to start your week!


The New York Times remembers the life and work of electronic composer Maryanne Amacher, who died in 2009.  Her studies with Stockhausen helped shape her unique approach and sound – and led her to fantastic collaborations, including with John Cage, but few authorized recordings of her works.  Read more here.


Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider has a great piece featured at NewMusicBox discussing the continued obstacles women composers face – including the gendered language used to describe works by women composers.  This is another important voice in the continued conversations – read on here.


WQXR, NYC’s classical music station, has a list of 12 Impressionist Composers who are not Debussy or Ravel.  Included are works by Mary Howe (1882-1964), Marion Bauer (1882-1955), Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983), Lili Boulanger (1893-1917), Elisenda Fabregas (b. 1955), and Joanna Newsom (b. 1982).  Learn more – and listen in – here.


What did we miss?  What are you reading?  Let us know!


New Works this Weekend

by sarah - May 19th, 2017

There are lots of opportunities to hear works by contemporary women composers this weekend, and throughout the coming week!


On Sunday, May 21 the Community Women’s Orchestra in Oakland, California will present Forbidden Voices, including June Bonacich’s Sorrow is a Willow Tree and a selection from Street Requiem, an enormous and internationally performed work composed by Kathleen McGuire, Andy Payne, & Jonathan Welch that brings awareness to issues of homelessness.  Find out more information and tickets about this weekend’s concert here.


The American Composers Orchestra is presenting a concert titled Parables on Tuesday, May 23rd in New York City as part of Symphony Space’s Fuse Project.  Included in the performances is the world premiere of Nina Young’s Out of whose womb came the ice, an ACO commission.  The work is scored for baritone, orchestra, and electronics.  Tickets and more information here.  For those not able to attend, read the full program notes for the work here, and watch a Composer Portrait of the composer below:


On Thursday, May 25 the Orchestra of the League of Composers will present their season finale at Columbia University’s Miller Theater.  The program will include the world premiere of Stories I Cannot Tell You by Sheree Clement, which was commissioned by the ensemble, as well as Lisa Bielawa’s Start (Piano Concerto).  Tickets and more information available here.


CD Review: Ruth Lomon, Shadowing

by Liane Curtis - May 18th, 2017

While we rarely publish CD reviews on our blog, we decided it was important to give coverage to a recent CD by composer Ruth Lomon.  Ruth’s music ranges from expressive and lyrical to electrifyingly engaging.  But not only that, Ruth has always been seriously dedicated to promoting the work of other women composers, through projects such as pioneering work (in the 1970s and 80s) with American Women Composers, Inc. (which in 1995 became part of the IAWM) of researching repertoire and organizing concerts and conferences, to her more recent work of orchestrating the Viola Sonata by Rebecca Clarke (info here, recording here).  —  Liane Curtis


RUTH LOMON: SHADOWING   (2017, Navona Records)

by Chris Trotman

This recent 2017 CD, Shadowing, features four works by acclaimed composer Ruth Lomon (b. 1930, Montréal).  They include her Shadowing piano quartet and three solo piano works, one of which is a set of variations; the other two consist of multiple movements.

An accomplished pianist herself, Ruth Lomon employs many diverse styles and challenging piano techniques, such as repeated notes and dampened strings, in the theme and ten variations of her solo piano work, The Sunflower Variations (my favorite work on the album).  The lyrical theme (which is based on her song The Sunflower), the eclectic rhythmic patterns and the colorful harmonic sonorities are progressively varied within each consecutive variation, and each section naturally continues to the next with the theme returning at the close.  Also, the work is dedicated to the album’s pianist, Eileen Hutchins, and it is quite satisfying and appropriate to hear the intricate and passionate masterpiece expertly performed by its dedicatee! The same care and skill in terms of clarity, phrasing and rhythmical nuance by Hutchins is clearly evident in the other piano performances, both solo and chamber.

The three movements of Lomon’s Shadowing piano quartet are essentially programmatic, that is, intended to evoke images or convey the impression of events.  According to the liner notes, she was influenced by the “magical passages of movement and color” found in the book Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.  “Shadowing” is explained as “having such a light touch as to move freely without being observed or manifesting only to become like smoke and then manifesting again.”  The second movement, with its seemingly random pizzicato notes, gives the impression of suspended time and space.  These impressions are vividly brought to life by Eileen Hutchins (piano), Katherine Winterstein (violin), Scott Woolweaver (viola) and Patrick Owen (cello).

Like the variations, Esquisses (Sketches) contains diverse motivic and rhythmic elements as well as exquisite tonal sonorities.  Also, like Shadowing and other works by Lomon, parts of the work contains programmatic elements, such as the tolling of bells in the opening movement Les Cloches (The Bells).

In Five Ceremonial Masks, Lomon stimulates the mind with images and events based on five Navaho masks used in the Yeibichai Night Chant ceremonies.  The album booklet includes a color photograph of the five buckskin masks.  Like The Sunflower Variations, Lomon uses advanced techniques within this work, such having the performer dampen the strings and even performing glissandi directly on the strings with a timpani stick or leather mallet.  As a bonus, there is a second recording of this work by the composer!

These works are among Ruth Lomon’s finest solo and chamber works, and they wonderfully demonstrate her extensive palette of harmonic colors and her expressive rhythmic flexibility as well as reveal her sense of musical narrative and sound painting in depicting diverse images and events through program music.  Brava!

Audio clip here    Publisher’s page

–  Chris A. Trotman, M.M./M.L.I.S.
Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy
Director of Music Publications and
Editor-in-Chief of Amy Beach Project



Monday Link Round Up: May 15, 2017

by sarah - May 15th, 2017

News to start your week!

In honor of Mother’s Day, WQXR shared some conversations about music and motherhood with four highly accomplished professional musicians.  Catch it here!  And, along the same lines, it’s a perfect time to re-read Emily Doolittle’s piece for NewMusicBox about composing and motherhood.

The topic of representation in music continues to be part of the public conversation – including a recent BuzzFeed article the role of women in film music.  The panel of composers, which included Pinar Toprak, Lesley Barber, Carly Paradis, and Stephanie Economou discuss the challenges, and advancements being made.  Read the piece here.

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge is offering a Young Women’s Conducting Course – specifically reaching out to musicians aged 12 to 15 to begin introducing opportunities for the young women to engage with conducting opportunities.  The workshop is being done in partnership with Royal Philharmonic Society’s Women Conducting Program (which was begun by Alice Farnham).  Learn more about the new initiative to engage young women here!

What did we miss?  What are you reading?  Let us know!

THIS JUST IN:  Exciting review of last-weekend’s performance featuring Amy Beach’s “Gaelic” Symphony, in Bangor Maine!  Beach’s 150th anniversary is in full swing!!

Monday Link Round Up: May 8, 2017

by sarah - May 8th, 2017

News to start your week!


Tom Huizenga at NPR’s Deceptive Cadence continues the conversation about representation with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Du Yun, and follows up on the essay written by Mohammed Fairouz (included in last week’s round up).  Read the full piece by Huizenga here.


On An Overgrown Path discusses the importance of diversity behind the baton – specifically how few people of color are represented.  Read the piece here – and follow the links for the deeper and important conversation.


Listening to Ladies has a new episode featuring the work of composer, performer, and researcher Mari Kimura.  Learn more, and download, at the LtL website, or stream it below:


Read more about the concert that happened this past weekend in Princeton, NJ  at PrinctonInfo.com.   the Westminster Community Orchestra performed Amy Beach’s “Gaelic” Symphony – in the new edition being released by WPA Publishing.  A great conversation with the conductor, Ruth Ochs!


What did we miss?  What are you reading?  Let us know!