Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Women's History Month

During the month of March people in the press start paying special attention to music written by women. But this March there seems to be a bit more going on than in previous years.

There's an article by Susanna Eastburn in The Guardian that presents the idea of dealing with the problem of underrepresentation by women in the larger landscape of concert programs through gender equality. She runs Sound and Music, the UK's national organization for new music. Sound and Music has made excellent progress, and aims to have 50/50 gender equality in their musical programs by March of 2020.

Things are slowly getting better for living composers who are female. Visibility helps. Orchestras and other musical organizations that take the "risk" of playing music by composers who are contemporary, living, and female show their audiences (and their musicians) that "classical" music is NOT only written by men from Europe who are no longer alive.

These internets are finally buzzing with excitement about Florence Price. There's a review of a Naxos recording with two of her symphonies, and Spotify has thirty tracks on their "Composer Weekly" page for this week. Price is also featured in an excellent New Music USA blog post by Douglas Shadle, which discusses her as both a female composer and an African American composer. Most of all Shadle presents her as a great composer, which she certainly was. Thank goodness her music is now getting performed, recorded, and written about.

These are not "baby steps." They are broad strides that are being taken by men and women that help enrich our musical world.

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