The Long, LONG Arc of History

With the debut of Margaret Ruthven Lang’s Dramatic Overture in 1893, the world changed: never before had an orchestral work composed by a woman been performed on the American stage.  The intervening 119 years have brought monumental social change, much of it due to the ever-increasing participation of women in all aspects of society.  But what of women in classical music?  Concerning female composers, it seems accurate to say that change is frustratingly slow.  Can this perception about their long arc of history be clearly spelled out and quantified? Our resident researcher Sarah Baer pored over eight seasons (2000-2008) of…

The 1.7 Percent: Distilling the 2008-2009 Repertoire Reports

Stories about “the 1%” abound in the media, but today I would like to shine a light on a far less reported, though far more relevant for this site’s purposes, statistic: the 1.7%. Our own Sarah Baer crunched the numbers (provided by the League of American Orchestras) and determined that out of over 12,000 individual performances of orchestral pieces in the US during the 2008-2009 season, only 109 were works by female composers.  Taking into account that ensembles may have performed some of these 109 works more than once, Sarah concluded that (at most) women composers were heard in concert…