Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Stockton Symphony Plays Thea Musgrave

by sarah - September 20th, 2017

The Stockton Symphony is opening their 2017-2018 season on Saturday, September 23 with a great, and inclusive, program.  In addition to Tchaikovsky Brahms, and Berlioz, conductor Peter Jaffe has chosen to include Rainbow (1990) by Thea Musgrave.


Musgrave, who will be celebrating her 90th birthday in May, 2018, was born in Scotland but has lived and worked in the United States since 1972.  A student of Nadia Boulanger and Aaron Copland, she has written extensively for orchestra, as well as completed twelve operas.  Her operatic works often feature a historical woman as the central character, including Mary, Queen of Scots (1977) and Harriet, the Woman Called Moses (1985).  Her orchestral works demonstrate Musgrave’s interest in programmatic writing, as well as the inspiration she finds in the visual arts.  The composer said this about Rainbow:

Rainbow is soundscape in both a literal and a figurative sense. In nature, of course, a rainbow heralds the end of a storm and the reappearance of the sun. Rainbow begins with a quiet expressive oboe solo accompanied by a sustained A major chord (representing the sun), soon to be overwhelmed by the approaching storm which erupts violently in a fast tumultuous section.

Eventually the storm dies away and the rainbow appears; a lyrical theme accompanied by three major chords (the three primary colours of the spectrum: red, yellow, blue). When the rainbow fades, the sun blazes out; the A major chord accompanying the initial oboe melody, now played by all the violins. The brass adds a chorale of thanksgiving, bringing a mood of calm confident fulfillment.


Learn more about the upcoming performance at Stockton Symphony here – and learn more about Musgrave’s work through the Program Notes for this performance.




by Chris Trotman - September 4th, 2017

As this year marks Amy Beach’s 150th birthday, much is being done in celebration about this remarkable woman’s life and work! Numerous orchestras, choral ensembles, chamber ensembles and soloists around the world have performed or will be performing works by the pioneering American composer/pianist this year and next in celebration.  There are new recordings available this year featuring her works and new scholarship has and will be written about her.  Additionally, new musical editions, both revised and published for the first time, are available by a variety of publishers, such as Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy Publications!

Here are a few highlights of what is happening for her birthday celebration –

1) The City of Boston will be declaring September 5th as Amy Beach Day! (a separate post will be made with more information!)

2) The upcoming Amy Beach/Teresa Carreño Conference at University of New Hampshire on Sept. 15 & 16

3) An article entitled “Amy Beach, a Pioneering American Composer, Turns 150” by musicologist William Robin featured in the NYTimes!

4) An article entitled “Amy Beach First Female Composer to Have Her Music Played by a Major Orchestra” by Troy Lennon, Classmate and History Editor of The Daily Telegraph in New South Wales, Australia!

5) A number of orchestras have and will be performing Beach’s monumental “Gaelic” Symphony in E minor, Op. 32 Bal Masqué, Op. 22, and others (some using Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy Publications’ revised editions) as well as choral ensembles performing her Grand Mass in E-flat, Op. 5! (Keep watching our news feed as we post about upcoming concerts!)

Contemporary Women at Cabrillo

by sarah - August 4th, 2017

The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music has celebrated new music for 55 years – performing, commissioning, and advocating for the works of the greatest living composers, as well as creating opportunities for young composers to have their works heard.  After decades of dedicated leadership, Marin Alsop has handed the reigns of the Festival to Cristian Macelaru, who is directing his first Festival this year, with an impressive line up of concerts and events already underway!

The Festival, which takes place July 30 through August 12, features the work of four contemporary women.

On Friday, August 4, the Festival will present the World Premiere of Clarice Assad’s Ad Infinitum, a new percussion concerto commissioned by the Festival.  As an even bigger treat, Evelyn Glennie will be performing. Learn more here.

Gabriela Lena Frank’s Three Latin American Dances will be heard on Saturday, August 5 in the same concert as Cindy McTee’s Double Play.  McTee will also have her Symphony No. 1 performed on Friday, August 11.

Gabriella Smith’s newest work, Field Guide, which was commissioned by the Festival as a tribute for the celebration of John Adams’ 70th birthday, will be heard on Saturday, August 12.

For those of us who can’t make it to Santa Cruz for the Festival, listen in to some of the works being performed on our Spotify Playlist:

Peggy Stuart Coolidge in Boston

by sarah - July 14th, 2017

This coming Wednesday the Boston Landmarks Orchestra will be kicking off the summer concert season at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell.

Their concert on July 19, titled Music for a Summer Evening, will include works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Delius, Barber, Verdi – and American composer Peggy Stuart Coolidge.

Stuart Coolidge’s The Blue Planet, for narrator and orchestra, was inspired by a commission from the World Wildlife Fund.  After composing a 3 minute piece to accompany an advertisement, Stuart Coolidge expanded on the work and added narration written by her husband, Joseph R. Coolidge.  The first performance of The Blue Planet was heard at the International Congress of the World Wildlife Fund in Bonn in 1972.  Though the work has been recorded, live performances of the work are (unfortunately) extremely rare.  Those able to attend this week’s performance by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra will no doubt be in for an amazing performance!

Learn more about the concert here or on the Boston Landmarks Orchestra Facebook Page.

FSYO Honoring Women in European Tour

by sarah - June 30th, 2017

The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra has a 60 year tradition of educating, nurturing, and inspiring young musicians.  In recent years we at WPA have been delighted to support their mission in part with our Performance Grants, offering more opportunities for the students to become familiar with the diversity that exists in the canon of western art music.

In celebration of their history and success, the FYSO is embarking on a European tour.  They will be performing in several different cities and sharing the work of American composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen.  Listen below to her American Hymn which the FSYO will be performing in Munich, Salzburg, Prague, and at an international music competition in Vienna.

Follow along on the FSYO Tour through their Instagram Account and Facebook Page.