Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Monday Link Round Up: July 23, 2018

by sarah - July 23rd, 2018

News and music to start your week!

Pianist Samantha Ege

Pianist and musicologist Samantha Ege writes at Sound Studies blog — Sounding Out! — about her recent performance at the Australian Gender Diversity in Making Music conference – where she (most probably) gave the Australian premiere of music by Florence Price.  This is a “must read” about the ways in which the best of intentions of a conference can be quickly derailed by an incident of conference planning that reinforces the inherent nature of privilege.

In their continued collaboration with New Music Box, composer & IAWM President Carrie Leigh Page and composer Dana Reason explore the history of bias women have experienced as performers as well as composers.  An excellent — and thorough — history, and another “must read”!

Page and Reason in their New Music Box article referred to the famous (to those concerned with gender issues in classical music) case of Abbie Conant who fought the Munich Philharmonic for years to confront the overt bias she faced. The WQXR Blog further explores the story .

In their most recent feature of a contemporary composer, I Care if You Listen interviews composer and sound artist Jess Rowland.  From the website: “Rowland’s compositions and performances explore consumer culture, and she describes her own music through the Ives quote “beauty in music is too often confused with something that lets the ear lie back in an easy chair.” In this interview, Jess Rowland discusses the prejudices faced being a trans woman, a composer not adhering to the hierarchy of academia, and the financial struggles many musicians face.”

It’s been heartening to see influx of attention paid to the work of women in music, and actions being taken to address the imbalances.  According to France 24, the French Culture Minister is making efforts to have organizations and institutions commit to more equality both on the podium, and in arts administration.  Conversely, the Irish Times reports that the gender imbalance in Ireland is not being taken seriously.

What have we missed?  What do you think?  We’d love to hear from you at [email protected]


Monday Link Round Up: April 16, 2018

by sarah - April 16th, 2018

News to start your week!

Congratulations are due to Jennifer Higdon who was awarded the Michael Ludwig Hemmers Prize in Music Composition.  The prize is given to contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement “who have significantly influenced the field of composition.”  The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

It has been wonderful to see so much attention paid to the life and work of Florence Price in recent months and weeks.  This week it was announced that Price was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association – and organization she was denied admittance to during her lifetime because of her race.  Read more in the Arkansas Times.

The Annapolis Symphony Academy is preparing to launch this fall – and promises to ensure that half of the student body is representative of African-American or Hispanic-Latino communities.  Read about this bold initiative here.

A bit delayed – but make sure to read the New York Times article about Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s newest work premiered by the New York Philharmonic.  See a video of a rehearsal below:

International Women’s Day 2018

by sarah - March 7th, 2018

In the past few years the enthusiasm and programming surrounding March 8 has expanded in exciting ways.  No doubt due to the response to #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #NeverAgain movements, the plans for this year’s International Women’s Day have felt even more exciting.  The theme this year is #PressforProgress – and there is already plenty of momentum to challenge stereotypes and bias, forge positive visibility of women, and celebrate women’s achievements.

Each year celebrations surrounding International Women’s Day get bigger and bigger – with demonstrations, special events, art installations, and concerts, with notable events occurring throughout the world.

Increasingly orchestras are embracing not only March as Women’s History Month but March 8 as International Women’s Day to showcase works by women composers. We’ve compiled a roundup of how you can appreciate works by women composers in the days to come!

Several events have already taken place, including:

  • Community Women’s Orchestra – Oakland, California, which performed Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s Overture and Amy Beach’s Bal Masqué.
  • Aurora Chorus in Portland, Oregon, which presented its fifth annual International Women’s Day concert.

In the days to come:

  • Royal College of Music – London, UK, which will present works by Pauline Viardot, Clara Schumann, Lili and Nadia Boulanger,Thea Musgrave, Elizabeth Maconchy, Liza Lehmann, and Judith Weir.
  • The BBC Concert Orchestra – London, UK, which will perform live on BBC Radio 3 works by Leokadiya Kashperova, Marianna Martines, Florence B Price, Augusta Holmès and Johanna Müller-Hermann.  You can listen to the live stream here (the concert is at 7:30 PM GMT, which is 2:30 PM in U.S.A. Eastern time), and the broadcast will be available here
  • The BBC also has a lunchtime concert (at 1 PM GMT) which features mostly new music selected from hundred of submissions.  Again it will be live-streamed.  Details are available here, and it will be available on that page for listening, for at least several weeks.
  • Women Who Score – Seattle, Washington, will perform chamber works by Amy Beach, Clara Schumann, Louise Farrenc, and Libby Larsen.

But there are also plenty of places to listen online, even if you don’t find yourself close to an event.

Second Inversion will be presenting a streaming marathon of works by women composers throughout the day on March 8.

In addition to the two live broadcast concerts, BBC Radio 3 has curated an impressive collection of articles and music in celebration of women composers.

The New Classical FM will feature works by women each night this week.

Cape Cod Radio, WOMR, will feature a range of programming – including world music and classical music, interviews, and more.

The Spotify community has curated many great playlists of works by women composers – a search for “women composers” produces dozens of playlists and albums.  I’ve included a few notable ones below:

As we #PressforProgress this International Women’s Day – and EVERY day – encourage your favorite ensembles and radio stations to include works by women composers in regular programming!  And We at WPA are always happy to help ensembles with advice and information — and our grant program will be back in the fall!

Monday Link Round Up: February 12, 2018

by sarah - February 12th, 2018

News to start your week!

It’s been amazing to see so many headlines discussing the life and music of Florence Price!  Last week we shared the article by Alex Ross published in The New Yorker about the new recording of the recently discovered Violin Concerto.  This week the The New York Times also covered the story, and NPR provided a review of the album.  Have a listen to the work below!

Don’t miss this great article by musicologist Douglas Shandle on the systemic problems in orchestral programming.  Be sure to also follow him on Twitter.

Susan McClary, the “mother of New Musicology”, was interviewed at Van Magazine – where she was, in part, asked to give her opinion on the lack of representation of women in concert programming.

More success for Jennifer Higdon, as her Concerto for Low Brass was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra!   Here’s a review that shares the excitement!

And NPR provides a First Listen to Laurie Anderson’s latest album featuring the Kronos Quartet.  The work, Landfall, returns listeners to the power and devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  Learn more, and listen to the album in full, here.




Monday Link Round Up: February 5, 2018

by sarah - February 5th, 2018

News to start your week!

Don’t miss Alex Ross’s piece on Florence Price in The New Yorker.  He speaks of her “rediscovery”, a coming premiere, and the attention that her music deserves, also mentioning Amy Beach “Gaelic” Symphony and William Dawson’s “Negro Folk Symphony”  Important thoughts to add to the ongoing conversations about representation.

International Musician discusses the life and work of Tania Leon just after the premiere of a new work by Youth Orchestra Los Angeles.  Read the article, “A Celebration of Diversity in Composing and Life” here.

Stop by “On an Overgrown Path” for an in depth consideration of the impact of racism in classical music.  The first post explores the obstacles faced by Rudolph Dunbar, a black conductor who had an international career until faced with resistance.  In a follow-up article, learn about the life and career of composer and conductor Philippa Schuyler.

The Women Composers Festival of Hartford is announcing more details about the 2018 Festival – which will be held April 6-8.  Learn more about the exciting concerts and presentations here!