I recently wrote about the news from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra that they are making a concerted effort to include and recognize the contributions of women musicians in their 2011-2012 concert season. Just days after the BSO news was announced, I learned that the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is making similar strides in their programming. The press release can be found here.
It is notable that this is the inaugural season for the RPO’s new Music Director, Arild Remmereit. Christopher Seaman, Remmereit’s predecessor, was not known to embrace works by women in his programming – according to the League of American Orchestra reports the Rochester Philharmonic has only performed three works by women in the last ten years – (Higdon’s Blue Cathedral; Larsen’s Notes Slipped Under the Door, and Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman). This season, however, the RPO will perform eight works:
- Amy Beach’s Symphony No. 2, “Gaelic”
- Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s Hiob (Job)
- Gabriela Lena Frank’s Three Latin American Dances
- Peggy Stuart Coolidge’s Blue Planet
- Karen Tanaka’s Rose Absolute
- Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor
- Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths: Dedication to Mary and Martha, Concerto for Two Violas
- And a newly commissioned piece by Margaret Brouwer
In my eyes, Remmereit has created a fantastic season including a more diverse representation of women’s work through history and nationalities than likely has ever been seen in a professional orchestra’s programming. We can only hope that the effort and thought that was part of the artistic choices for the 2011-2012 season will carry through future seasons, and that Remmereit and the RPO will continue to perform diverse programming. If this is how Remmereit is approaching his first season in Rochester, I am anxious to see what future concerts will hold!