Vivian Perlis Remembered

Vivian Perlis Remembered

By Jennifer DeLapp-Birkett, Ph.D., musicology, [email protected] When Vivian Perlis died last month, the music world lost a respected scholar, a pioneering oral historian, an advocate for American composers and a strong supporter of women in classical music and jazz. Among her greatest achievements is the nationally recognized Oral History of American Music at Yale University Libraries, which she founded in 1969 with a series of interviews with people who knew the composer Charles Ives.  Those interviews culminated in the celebrated book Charles Ives Remembered (1974). In the 1980s, a long series of interviews with Aaron Copland led to a two-volume Copland…

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…

Concert 1: Eastman Festival of Women in Music

Today was the first day of the Tenth Annual Festival of Women in Music at the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY).  The Festival was founded and is organized by pianist and Eastman Faculty member Sylvie Beaudette.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but to my knowledge, Eastman is the only major music conservatory to have such a festival.  There are other festivals that feature female composers, women in music, etc. etc. but they are not hosted by institutions as prominent or influential as Eastman.  It is all Beaudette’s doing, to make it happen, and to have it be such a…

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…