The BBC Proms, founded in 1895 by Henry Wood, have always been designed to invite and encourage the masses to engage with a wide variety of music.  Though the inclusion of women in the yearly Proms programming has not always been a priority for the organizers, there have been some fairly impressive developments in recent years.  In 2006 Jennifer Fowler reported in the IAWM Journal the current state of women and the Proms, which for that year included no works by women composers, or led by women conductors.  However, last year’s Proms included numerous examples of the contributions of women in historical and contemporary music.  (You can read more about the works included in last year’s Proms here.)

The programming for the 2011 Proms was just released, and I can report that while there are certainly fewer works by women performed than last year, it is not an entirely dismal year for women’s work at the Proms.  There are five works being performed, including three World Premieres, two of which are BBC commissions.  The composers include:

  • Sally Beamish – her Reed Stanzas (String Quartet No. 3), a BBC Commission and World Premiere, will be heard July 25
  • Judith Bingham – The Everlasting Crown (for organ), a World Premiere, will be heard July 17
  • Judith Weir – Stars, Night, Music and Light, BBC Commission and World Premiere, heard July 15th at the opening Prom