Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Monday Link Round Up: July 16, 2018

by sarah - July 16th, 2018

News and music to start your week!

The 2018 BBC Proms are off and running (ICYMI here are the statistics of women’s representation we put together).  Anna Meredith had a piece presented at First Night at the Proms and spoke to Fiona Maddocks about her work.  Read more at The Guardian.

In response to the #MeToo movement, professional music organizations in the UK are working to create a code of conduct to eradicate sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination.  A joint initiative between the Musicians Union and Incorporated Society of Musicians, you can read more at The Stage.

NBC Nightly News took on the topic of diversity in American Orchestras.  How great to have national attention on this pervasive problem!  Check out the NBC website for the article, and video clip, including interviews with many musicians.

National Sawdust (the innovative music venue in Brooklyn) explores the ways in which Twitter emboldens all trolls – in particular in attacks against women composers, performers, and scholars. The catalyst for the article was a confrontation by Shelley Washington and Gemma Peacocke with a troll who disparaged the role of women composers. John Hong speaks with both Washington and Peacocke.

composer Missy Mazzoli

On July 2 we shared the exciting news that Missy Mazzoli was named Composer In Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A few days later, Mazzoli spoke to WRTI about the importance of mentoring young women composers.  Read the conversation here.

The Dream Unfinished, the amazing activist orchestra, is building up to the finale of their SANCTUARY season.  The July 27 concert  features music by Tania Leon, George Walker, Vijay Iyer, Kareem Roustom and Huang Ruo. Speakers from NYC’s immigrant rights community will share their stories.



Monday Link Round Up: February 29, 2016

by sarah - February 29th, 2016

News to start your week!

Continuing the conversation about women an opera that began last week with the announcement that Saariaho’s work will be heard next season (and is only the second work by a woman to ever be performed), Shawn Milnes of The Daily Beast asks Can Opera Cure Its Sexism Problem?”  It’s a must read!


And beyond the topic of composers, Charlotte Higgins explores the way women characters are used – and abused – throughout traditional opera (a question that has been asked since the beginning of Feminist Musicology with Opera: or the Undoing of Women).  


The Minnesota Star Tribune speaks with Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster Erin Keefe about her work and music – and what it’s like being married to the conductor.


To round out the top headlines, The Guardian profiles composer Anna Meredith, who is crossing genres and turning heads.  After having works commissioned by the BBC Proms, Meredith is now also pursing projects involving pop music.  NPR has a taste of this new work – read more here or listen below:

Monday Link Round Up: December 21, 2015

by sarah - December 21st, 2015

News to start your week!

Sinfini Music shared the premiere of a new remix of work by Anna Meredith.  Listen to Tanya Auclair’s reinterpretation of Meredith’s work here.


TheaterJones, which covers North Texas Performing Arts News, followed up with the conductors who participated in the Dallas Opera Institute.  Read the conversation here.


And if you don’t receive our newsletter (which you can sign up for on our homepage), you can contribute to our list of holiday music by women composers below:


As always – let us know what we missed in a comment below!

Monday Link Roundup: August 3

by sarah - August 3rd, 2015

Some news to start the week:

Anna Meredith’s Smatter Hauler, a BBC Commission, received its World Premiere at The Proms – you can listen to a recording of the performance online here.

Alex Ross attended a performance of The Wreckers and wrote about it for The New Yorker.

One great opera event follows another this summer with the World Premier of Cold Mountain by Jennifer Higdon.  Read reviews from James Keller for the Santa Fe – New Mexican and David Patrick Sterns for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Women Composers Festival of Hartford has announced the 2016 Festival dates – pencil them in now, and stay tuned for Calls for Scores and Papers in the near future.


As always, let us know what we missed in the comments!

Women at the 2015 Proms

by sarah - July 21st, 2015



The 2015 Proms kicked off on Friday, July 17 with another full lineup of fabulous and engaging concerts ahead.  The role of women in music has been a hot topic in the London music scene this year, stemming largely from the popularity and publicity of BBC Radio 3’s women-only programming surrounding International Women’s Day.  (You can read Laura Seddon’s take on the efforts in her guest blog post here.)  As usual, the Proms programming includes a handful of contemporary women composers, and commissioned works.

Two great pieces have already been heard:

Anna Meredith’s Connect It, (a BBC Commission) was heard on July 18 & 19.

July 20 saw the World Premiere of From the Beginning of the World by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, written in homage to Thomas Tallis.  Listen to a recording of the concert here:

But there is more to come:

On July 25 the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group will be presenting the work of three different women, and each work will have a premiere: the World Premiere of Shiori Usui’s Ophiocordyceps unilateralis s.l., a BBC Commission; the UK Premiere of Betsy Jolas Wanderlied; and the World Premiere of Joanna Lee’s Hammer of Solitude, which was also a BBC Commission.

On August 2 Anna Meredith’s Smatter Hauler, a BBC Commission, will receive its World Premiere.

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain will give the World Premiere of Re-Greening by Tansy Davies.

Internationally acclaimed percussionist Evelyn Glennie appears at the Proms on August 10 performing, among other works, Orologeria aureola a piece she co-composed with Phillip Sheppard, and Prism Rhapsody by Keiko Abe.

On August 27 the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra will present Bergen’s Bonfire by Alissa Firsova.

Helen Grime’s A Cold Spring will be performed in a concert honoring the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez on August 29.

The Benedetti Elschenbroich Grynyuk Trio will present Arlene Sierra’s Butterflies Remember a Mountain on September 7.

On September 12 –  the final night of The Proms, which Marin Alsop will again have the honor of conducting – will open with the World Premiere of Eleanor Alberga’s Arise, Athena, a BBC Commission.

This season includes some excellent pieces by contemporary women – but, as always, the omission of works by historic women (Rebecca Clarke!  Ethel Smyth! Grace Williams!) is discouraging. And while the list of pieces by women is indeed exciting, it is a very small amount of the music of the Proms as a whole.  Out of about 225 total programmed works there are 13 works by women in the entirety of the Proms —  less than 6%.  (For some perspective, 14 different works by Beethoven will be heard this year.)

Only one woman composer, Anna Meredith, will have multiple works performed this year.  Also it seems strange that none of the participating ensembles have chosen to perform a piece by the Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir.

In short, we think that the Proms could do more to encourage the programming of works by women — while it could be worse, it could also be much, much better.