500+ Operas by Women: Perform one today!

500+ Operas by Women: Perform one today!

Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy is happy to unveil our newly-updated database of 500+ Operas by Women! We invited Dr. Penny Brandt (one of the two noted scholars who worked on the update) to comment. “Why is nobody performing operas by female composers?”  asked ClassicFM, a UK-based Independent National Radio station with a popular website by the same name, in 2016. The question was a response to the New York Metropolitan Opera’s first production of an opera by woman since 1903:  which ran as part of the 2016–2017 season. “Damn good question,” I thought to myself as I read this and other…

Joan Tower & Tania Léon in Conversation at LAO

Joan Tower & Tania Léon in Conversation at LAO

By Chris A. Trotman, WPA’s Director of Music Publications. Thank you to composer Dosia McKay (@dosiamckay) for sharing her photo of the event (Tower, left, and Léon) During the 2019 League of American Orchestras Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, I had the privilege of attending a discussion and Q/A session with composer-conductor-pianist-educators Joan Tower and Tania Léon.  Tower was the recipient of the LAO Gold Baton Award, and the Nashville Symphony performed her Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (a title deliberately referencing Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man)!  Léon is also a well-known, very successful composer, conductor, performer and educator,…

Costa Rican orchestra features women composers

Costa Rican orchestra features women composers

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (OSN — National Symphony Orchestra) of Costa Rica presents a tribute to women composers on June 14 and 16, 2019. The concert is conducted by Gabriela Mora Fallas (pictured left), returning for her second time to lead the orchestra; for her first time, two years ago, she received a National Award from the Ministry of Culture and Youth. The program is brilliant and varied, and Mora emphasizes that many of the works are national premieres, and thus the program is highly innovative.  The complete program follows: Blue Cathedral, Jennifer Higdon Pinceladas, Pilar Aguilar (Costa Rican) Purple…

Miriam Gideon's "Fortunato" Premiered

Miriam Gideon's "Fortunato" Premiered

We were thrilled to hear the stream of Miriam Gideon’s 1958 chamber opera, Fortunato, last week. This was the world premiere of this work, which Gideon apparently wrote hoping that it would be performed by the NBC Opera Theatre.  She composed it in three acts, and orchestrated the first act.  While her hope was that it would be performed, there was no plan, so was a real labor of love, to write a major work with no expectation hearing it.  The story of how this premiere was brought about is worth discussing, but that will be one of the details…