News and music to start your week!

Theresa May

Trumpeter Theresa May, pictured above, has had a diverse career in music – performing in classical ensembles as well as big bands.  She was interviewed at WSKU out of Northeast Ohio about her career, the challenges she has faced, and the continued stigma that surrounds women brass players.  Listen in to the conversation, and hear about her current project: Mourning [A] BLKstar.

We mentioned last week about pianist Lara Downes’ new series through NPR, called Amplify, featuring conversations with Black musicians and composers.  Ari Shapiro discussed the series with Downes on All Things Considered after her first episode (with Rhiannon Giddens).  This week, Downes released the next episode, with the New York Philharmonic principal clarinetist Anthony McGill.  Watch the conversation below:

As orchestras are trying to find their footing in the midst of a pandemic, they are turning to chamber works – which can be safely rehearsed and performed.  In so doing, forgotten repertoire and composers are coming to light.  In one such example, the Sarasota Orchestra will feature the works of Joseph de Boulogne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges – a composer of African descent whose works are said by many to be reminiscent of Mozart’s style.  Learn more, including how to stream the concert, at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

This week I Care If You Listen poses five questions to composer, pianist, and Associate Program Director of Creative Development for the Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice at Berklee College of Music Kris Davis.

The Dallas Symphony’s second annual Women in Classical Music Symposium will be held November 8-11, continuing to raise questions about the ways in which the inequities in classical music can be addressed and corrected.  The Dallas Morning News discusses the symposium and the topics that will be covered – including issues of child care and elder care, which continue to fall to women. The schedule of the Symposium is here.

One topic that is sadly absent from the Symposium is any awareness of or interest in music composed by historic women. The orchestral concert (for instance) seems to demonstrate overt tokenism: the work composed by a woman (and person of color) is the shortest piece on the program (in fact illustrating the situation that Jessie Montgomery described in this NYTimes article).  If these performers, administrators and conductors continue to ignore the brilliant range of music that women wrote in decades and centuries past, then surely that is a shallow foundation for profound and lasting change.  We might even wonder if they are perpetuating sexism rather than of challenging it.  And instead of venerating Mozart, Beethoven and Prokofiev, a Symposium on “Women in Classical Music” might have been an opportunity to highlight music by Louise Farrenc, Germaine Tailleferre, Florence Price or Vítězslava Kaprálová (to name a few possibilities). I wonder if “Female Pioneers” Marin Alsop and Hilary Hahn know about the Violin Concertos by Maddalena Laura Lombardini Sirmen or Amanda Maier?  If they know, when do we get to hear them?

What did we miss?  What are you reading?  Send us a note at to let us know!