Music and News to start your week!

The New York Times profiled Alma Deutscher – violinist, pianist, and composer who has been putting the classical music world in awe since she was just 4 years old.  Now 14, she’s working on a retrospective album and also discusses her future aspirations.

Pass on the word!  Women Composers Festival of Hartford is looking for Connecticut composers to help celebrate their upcoming 20th anniversary.  Read more here.

Nebal Maysaud writes for NewMusicBox about the problematic nature of Western Classical Music, having its roots in white supremacy. A deeply personal essay, Maysaud shares his own experiences, and the unspoken rules he and other composers of color are required to follow if they hope to be taken seriously.  A vital piece for every musician, scholar, administrator, and patron to read.

Exciting news that the Spoleto Festival will stage an opera based on the true story of a Muslim African enslaved in Charleston in 1807.  Omar Ibn Said’s story will be told through a newly commissioned work from Rhiannon Giddens (pictured above), who also founded and performs in the Carolina Chocolate Drops.   Read on at the Post and Courier.

Soprano Anna Netrebko riled the internet this past week when she posted a picture of herself backstage during a performance of Aïda at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre where she was dressed in blackface. The online classical music magazine Van covered the story and the mixed responses – from those angry at the insensitivity to fans defending the practice.  (For context, the Met Opera only recently ended the tradition of having Otello appear in blackface in 2015.)

AND, more news from the opera world, we applaud this bold statement from Australia, where four women leaders in the genre “demand a national commitment to systemic change.”  The statement lists seven demands, including  (1) We want diversity to be reflected in all aspects of the opera we experience and (2) We call for a questioning of the systemic acceptance of gender-based violence in opera.   The statement has been signed by dozens of supporters (whose numbers are still growing).  It comes as a response to recent events that emphasized women’s marginalized role in Australian opera, including the recent New Opera Workshop (NOW 2019), discussed here.

Finally, ICYMI, our blog covered a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica that celebrated women in music (with women composers, both historic and living, as well as a female conductor and a soloist).  We also featured a German festival that is celebrating Clara Schumann (as part of her 200th birthday celebrations!).

WOW!  We’d love to hear your thoughts on all this, or on anything else we should be covering!