News and music to start your week! A lot to celebrate!
August 18th marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, granting U.S. women the right to Vote! Our illustration is from the Music in the Women’s Suffrage Movement article of the Library of Congress.
Music events commemorating the anniversary include the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, streaming “She’s the First” — the concert includes music by saxophonist/songwriter Grace Kelly, Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach, Nkeiru Okoye (excerpts from “The Journey of Phillis Wheatley” and from the opera “Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom”), Florence Price, Francine Trester and Valerie Coleman. Streaming at August 18, 2020 at 7:00-8:00pm ET. A televised preview is available here (which reveals the social distancing approach), and the Landmarks Orchestra is archiving their events on their website.
The Cabrillo Festival took another approach to carrying on with their celebration of the women’s suffrage anniversary. The San Francisco Chronicle discusses the virtual performance: the premiere of “The Battle for the Ballot” by composer Stacy Garrop. The 65 musicians each recorded their tracks individually, which were then combined in a recording/video, unveiled on August 9, and available here.
Ethel Smyth was featured in The Boston Globe this week, as part of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra concert, and also for the release of the first recording of her symphony The Prison, by The Experiential Orchestra. This important recording (which we are proud to have supported) is also reviewed in The Guardian and the New York Times interviews conductor James Blachly.
More conversation is taking place around the problems with racism in what has been accepted academic thought. The Conversation further explores the race problem in music education, and the reasons why the accepted approach to music education needs to be reexamined and undergo changes moving forward. The article points our the work of music theorist Philip Ewell in questioning the elevation of the canon of a restricted number of great composers and their masterpieces. Note, for instance, Ewell’s article Beethoven was an Above-Average Composer — Let’s Leave it at That
The Chicago Sun Times talks to Black classical musicians and their experiences with racism and discrimination in their performing careers. This is just one installment in what has been a national conversation about the problems with race in classical music. We are looking forward to the changes that take place to address and correct these injustices.
Congratulations to Joana Mallwitz, the first woman conductor to be invited to conduct an opera in the 100-year history of the Salzburg Festival. Read more about Ms. Mallwitz in an interview conducted by The New York Times. We note, however, the irony that a female conductor can still be a first in re-inscribing the canon of great composers and their very sexist masterpieces (Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte).
The Florence Price Festival has been held online, and came to a rousing concluding with the announcement of the Winners of the 2020 Price Awards: six esteemed artists and leaders who have inspired us with their lives, their art, and their work. The awardees are Lara Downes, Dr. Rae Linda Brown, Dr. Samantha Ege, Dr. Louise Toppin: Dr. Nkeiru Okoye, and Michelle Obama. The events of this fantastic festival are available on their website, and we can look forward to an “in-person” event next year!
How are you celebrating the Women’s Suffrage Anniversary? Let us know! [email protected]