Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

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: 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: December 5, 2016

by sarah - December 5th, 2016

News to start your week!

On December 1 the Met Opera performed  L’Amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho.  This historic Met premiere marked only the second time a work by a woman composer has been heard at the institution – the last being over a century ago.  Many great stories and conversations have already come out of this event, and I’m sure there are more to come!  Here are some highlights.

David Patrick Stearns has a review on WQXR.

New Music Box has a profile of Saariaho’s career that led to having her work heard in one of the greatest opera venues in the world.

NPR had a conversation with Saariaho on Weekend Edition Saturday – read online, or listen below:

The news of the premiere has also created a spotlight on other women composers.  Even MentalFloss has a profile of Ethel Smyth – the first woman composer to have her work performed at the Met, in 1903.  And Alice Gregory of The New York Times has a woman-only history of classical music that is a good start (though rather abbreviated) history of the work of women in music.  But, we need to start somewhere, right?

For more on contemporary women’s voices, have a listen to BBC Radio 3’s Inspiring Women in Music series – and a conversation with composer Nicola LeFanu.

Finally, Gramophone Magazine notes the value of diverse music – but also the significant lack of recordings of works by women composers.  There are recordings out there – though not always still commercially available (and who shops used CD stores anymore?)  But this speaks to a wider problem of encouraging contemporary performers to record historic and contemporary works by women composers.

What did we miss?  What are you reading?  Leave a link and let us know!

Monday Link Round Up: October 10, 2016

by sarah - October 10th, 2016

News to start your week!

Composer Patricia Morehead writes about her experiences as a young composer starting out in Chicago, and as a founder of CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble.  Read about her full and exciting career, and work to promote new music and support the work of women composers, at NewMusicBox.


Don’t miss the second episode of the new Listening to Ladies podcast – a conversation with Pamela Z!  Listen here!  And learn about how you can help support this new podcast on the LtL website.


Chi-chi Nwanoku, double bassist and founder of Chineke!, Europe’s first orchestra comprised of black and minority ethnic classical musician, was just awarded a Black Business Award.  Read about the award here and her advocacy for blind auditions here.


NPR music has a conversation with Jayne and Wayne Henderson, a father-daughter luthier duo.  Read the story on the NPR website, or listen below:


As always, let us know what we missed!  What are you reading?  Leave a link in a comment below!

Monday Link Round Up: September 12, 2016

by sarah - September 12th, 2016

News to start your week!

The Library of Congress blog, In the Muse, has a guest post by Kate Doyle, a doctoral candidate specializing in experimental composition and sound for performance art at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  Doyle focused this past summer sorting and organizing the music commissioned for Erick Hawkins and his modern dance company.  Among these works were several scores by Lucia Dlugoszewski.  Doyle’s exciting work, and Polish American composer Dlugoszewski’s legacy, here.

We shared the news of the death of Connie Crothers earlier this year.  Ursel Schlight at New Music Box has a remembrance of Crothers’ life and pioneering work.  Read on here.

There has been several recent letters in The Guardian about the value and history of women as conductors.  We shared a few last week, and there are more worth noting.  First, on September 6, Susie Self, a composer & conductor, shared her own experiences on both ends of the baton, and the continued changes that are needed.  On September 7 Joan Stoney reminded readers of Iris Lemare, the first woman to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

The Desert Sun has a review of the fourth annual Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival which took place in Palm Springs, CA over labor day weekend.  Read the review here, or learn more about the festival here.

As always, let us know what we missed!  What are you reading?  Leave a link and comment below!