Women's Philharmonic Advocacy

Monday Link Round Up: August 6, 2018

by sarah - August 6th, 2018

News to start your week!

What better way to tackle the new week than a fantastic conversation?  Elizabeth Blair speaks with Emily Doolittle in the most recent episode of Listening to Ladies.  Learn more at the website, with lots of links and music, stream the episode through your favorite podcast app, or in the player below!

Calls for Participation are open for the 2019 Women Composers Festival of Hartford!  There are seeking compositions for the Ensemble-In-Residence, composers & performers for the annual Music Marathon, and presenters & performers for the Women Composers Forum.  Learn more at their website – and spread the word!

In a delightful change of programming, and response to national outcry at their predictable and stogy programming, The Philadelphia Orchestra has altered their plans for the 2018-2019 season to include works by two women composers.  They will perform the US Premiere of Perspectives by Stacey Brown in November, and Masquerade by Anna Clyne in June.  Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer.  The story was also covered by NPR.

Podcaster (and pianist) Kai Talim let us know about his far-ranging conversation with conductor Mei-Ann Chen in a recent episode of Skip the Repeat.  We interviewed in Maestro Chen in 2013 when she was busy leading performances of music by Florence PriceMei-Ann Chen continues to build her conducting career with Asian and European engagements, as well as continuing as Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta. But, as she discusses with Kai Talim, her big professional breakthrough was her appointment as Musical Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic.


And, from the blogosphere, we ran across Heather Roche’s report on the Royal Philharmonic Society’s conducting workshop for professional women musicians new to conducting.  Roche was pleased to be invited to apply, but taken aback that the workshop included no repertoire by female composers.  Her response was this post of five suggestions of pre-1950 works by women.  We applaud her ideas heartily, but also want to emphasize that all conducting classes — not just ones for women — should include music by women.  OK! Now we’d better get busy sending that message to directors of conducting classes!
We would love to know what you think!  Email at [email protected]

The Philadelphia Orchestra Announces 2013-2014 Season

by sarah - February 25th, 2013

The Philadelphia Orchestra is getting back on its feet after several rough years—including declaring and working out of bankruptcy, and finding a new conductor. After seeing the great work commenced in Rochester by recently-appointed Music Director Arild Remmereit, I was intrigued to see how Philadelphia’s new conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a youthful but experienced musician, would advance the programming of the ensemble at this critical point in its history. It was, and is, a fantastic opportunity to attract new audiences by expanding its scope and repertoire.

Unfortunately, there were no surprises in his first season (2012-2013), and the recently announced 2013-2014 season is just as lacking in diverse programming. You can once again expect lots of Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Strauss, a spattering of new music by familiar names (Tan Dun, Nico Muhly), and no works by women.

David Patrick Stearns, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, spoke to Nézet-Séguin about the season—but the title of the article, “Orchestral Innovations,” seems to be rather ill-fitting. What is so innovative about the Philadelphia Orchestra performing works by an overwhelming number of dead, white men? No—innovation was what the audiences of Rochester experienced in the past season-and-a-half. Innovation is daring to break the molds and the societal expectations and unwritten rules of classical music programming, challenging listeners to expand their horizons and giving under-performed music a chance to be heard and appreciated, and to inspire others. And, while performing works by contemporary composers is quite the innovation for the Philadelphia Orchestra, to include only works by old favorites and not any new voices is playing it too safe.

With the hundreds (thousands?) of under-performed or un-performed works lying in wait for their chance to be heard, how can an all-Mozart program (to take place over the course of three days, no less!) or the pairing of Strauss with Dvořák be seen as “innovative”?

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s season preview is the first of many other season releases to come, from large and small ensembles. I can only hope that more ensembles will be willing to take the risks that the RPO did—and also reap the rewards of truly innovative programming. Though I’m sure more than a few will follow the current status quo. Case in point:  the New York Philharmonic has, like the Philadelphia Orchestra, planned another season of status quo, and no representation of the works by women.