“I’ve never changed the world before, I’m not really sure how long it takes.”
We at Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy have been working to change the world of orchestral music for a long time. We are in it for the long run. We know this is not a fad or a “flavor-of-the-month.” We are dedicated to ensuring that music by women composers and other marginalized groups get a chance at fair inclusion on the concert stage. We’d like to share with you a few of our successes of 2023. (spoiler alert: with the goal of inviting you to support our ongoing work!)
This influential and respected report is often cited. Other repertoire reports have sprung up since, most with a wider scope, but lacking both the detailed analysis and the data that ours provides to effectively back up its conclusions. Thus ours is trusted and often quoted by other organizations.
For instance, Lunarts Festival, in announcing its Composers Hub (a Professional Development Program for Women Composers), quotes our report in emphasizing the need for their workshop: “according to [WPA’s] study …. works by women will account for only 10.5% of what audiences will hear in their 2023-24 seasons. At LunART, 100% of our programming is dedicated to women artists.”
2. Our list of “500 Operas by Women” – which now includes many more than 500 operas! – has always been a popular page on our website. This spring, we received an email from a British opera director who recounted how he had been struck by one particular name on this list, Marianna Bottini (1802-1858), a contemporary of well-known composers Vincenzo Bellini and Giuseppe Verdi. Intrigued, he started researching her, and then he resolved to bring her sole opera — which had never been performed — to life. Three years later, following research, editing, and fundraising (as well as rehearsals), Elena e Gerardo was given its first performance in Rugby, UK, by Random Opera Company on October 28, 2023. Here is a clip from the premiere, and this aria was recorded for the fund-raising efforts. Random Opera Co. will be making their performance materials available to others!
3. We started publishing music in 2017 to make marginalized and inaccessible orchestral music by women easily available in authoritative, critically edited scores and parts. We are so proud that our editions featuring composers such as Amy Beach, Marianne Martines, Louise Farrenc, and Elfrida Andrée, have now been performed in countries including Türkiye, Iceland, and Japan, and in U.S. States from Alaska to Florida.
Late in 2023, two orchestras gave the world premiere of Marion Bauer’s Symphony no. 1 (composed in 1950). Bauer was a noted American composer, professor at NYU and Juilliard, and critic, yet despite her fame and the success of much of her music, this Symphony had lain neglected. Using our edition, Symphoria (of Syracuse, NY) and the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra finally brought this fascinating work to light.
And on International Women’s Day March 8th 2024 Amy Beach’s great “Gaelic” Symphony will be performed (in our edition) by the United Nations Orchestra, an ensemble of UN employees, in a concert dedicated to world peace. The conductor will be Amy Andersson, who won a 2022 Grammy for her conducting of the remarkable film with live music “Women Warriors: The Voices of Change.”
We hope you will support us in continuing our valuable work in 2024! All donations are tax-deductible according to US IRS Tax Law. And THANK YOU!!