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We are saddened to hear about the death of Helen Jones Woods – a trombonist who performed with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an interracial all-female Big Band that toured widely during WWII. Jones, pictured above, was 96 and tragically died fighting COVID-19.  Read more at NPR about the groundbreaking work that Woods and her bandmates accomplished during the era of Jim Crow.

The Experiential Chorus and Orchestra just released their recording – the first ever – of Ethel Smyth’s The Prison.  Read a review of the album, which features the voices of Sarah Brailey and Dashon Burton, at The Guardian.  The New York Times weighs in on the recording, interviewing conductor James Blachly:  “We need Smyth because she enriches our sense of what music has been, and she enriches our sense of what music can be.”

Mark Swed at The Los Angeles Times writes about the work of Pauline Oliveros.  The article is from a new series in which Swed explores a different work and composer every week.

Music Publisher G. Schirmer has announced a new prize for the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music (GLFCAM).  It’s a multi-year partnership that offers mentorship opportunities for composers participating in GLFCAM.  This year’s recipient is Aeryn Santillan (formally Aaron Garcia).  Read on at WiseMusicClassical.

And WBUR in Boston has the story of why it was that it took 80 years for a piece by Ulysses Kay, a Black composer, to receive its World Premiere (by violist Mary Ferrillo).  Read on here, and listen in below:

Writing on Van, Arno Lücker suggests the possibility that Brahms stole from Amanda Röntgen-Maier when he wrote his Violin Concerto (composed just two years after hers).  We mentioned in our blog in 2016 that Brahms turned to Röntgen-Maier for advice for his third Violin Sonata and chose to include her suggestions in his final edition.  Lücker writes in German, but we find Google Translate does a great job!

At Aspen’s virtual Festival, seven women composers came together on a panel. While they agreed that gender inequities continue, they are tired of talking about being women composers.  The panel (featuring Joan Tower, Missy Mazzoli, Tania Leon, Laura Schwendinger, Julia Wolfe, and Zosha Di Castri took place in July, but is available on the Aspen website.

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