The 41st annual National Women’s Music Festival is taking place June 30-July 3 in Middleton, WI.  Each year the Festival celebrates women’s work across musical genres with exciting performances and workshops.  We are especially excited this year to support the National Women’s Music Festival Orchestra with a WPA Performance Grant in the commissioning of a new work by Mary Watkins.

Nan Washburn

The NWMF Orchestra will premiere the work on Saturday, July 2 under the direction of long-time advocate for the work of women composers,  Nan Washburn.  Throughout her career, Washburn has been a clear and distinct voice for music by women –  as conductor of The Women’s Philharmonic, founder Community Women’s Orchestra, and member of the WPA Board of Directors.  This year she is also being honored by NWMF organizers, having been named the recipient of the Jeanine C. Rae Award for the Advancement of Women’s Culture.

From the announcement:

The Jeanine C. Rae Award for the Advancement of Women’s Culture:
Jeanine c. Rae was a guiding light to many women’s journeys during the women’s movement in the 1970s and early ‘80s. An ordained minister, psychotherapist, political activist, and the mother of three children, Jeanine touched the lives of innumerable women throughout her short lifetime. She was a co-founder and co-owner of The Women’s Touch, Indianapolis’ first women’s bookstore and counseling center, in 1976. She was one of the midwives to the rebirth of NWMF during its move from Champaign, Illinois, to Bloomington. Her spirit continues to nurture the soul of this festival.
Awarded to Nan Harrison Washburn for her advocacy of orchestra works by women composers through research, education and programming. She researched and reconstructed historical scores, commissioned new works, and programmed and performed more women composers than any other conductor in the United States of any orchestra size. Washburn has rescued many works from obscurity so that we may hear what for centuries was silent.
Congratulations to Nan, and the entire Festival, for the continued work towards hearing a diverse range women’s voices!  For those of us unable to make the trip, we can still support the excellent work of the NWMF.