Works by Women at the Proms

The 2010 Proms season is well under way in London, with only two weeks left before the final concert.  For those of us who are unable to make the trip across the pond, the BBC is broadcasting all of the concerts on Radio 3, and is also making the broadcasts available online for seven days after the original airing.

This year the works of seven women composers will be heard throughout the Proms season.

Past concerts include:

On August 14th the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra presented the world premiere of Bach Allegro by Alissa Firsova (b. 1986), a BBC commission.  Full details of the concert are here.

On August 21st Betty Olivero’s Neharot, Neharot received it’s UK Premiere.

However, there are several upcoming concerts to look forward to:

The works of Judith Weir (b. 1954)  and Thea Musgrave (b. 1928) will be heard together on September 4.  Weir’s All the Ends of the Earth was commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Singers and premiered in 1999; Musgrave’s Ithaca, also a BBC commission, will be receiving it’s world premiere.

In honor of Proms founder-conductor Henry Wood, the final concert of the 1910 season will be recreated almost exactly on September 5, including Mifanwy by Dorothy Forester (1884-1950), composer of popular song.

Dorothy Howell’s (1898-1982) symphonic poem Lamia will also be heard on September 5 in a separate concert continuing the celebration and remembrance of the work of Henry Wood.

British composer Tansy Davies (b. 1973) will be interviewed on September 8 before the world premiere of her new BBC commission, Wild Card.  More information can be found here.

Though the percentage of works by women is still substantially lacking (considering the sheer number of pieces hear throughout the Proms season), it is encouraging to recognize how many works by women heard were commissioned by the BBC.

You can find more general information about the Proms and how to listen in, in real time or past broadcasts, here.

1 Comment

  1. […] The BBC Proms, founded in 1895 by Henry Wood, have always been designed to invite and encourage the masses to engage with a wide variety of music.  Though the inclusion of women in the yearly Proms programming has not always been a priority for the organizers, there have been some fairly impressive developments in recent years.  In 2006 Jennifer Fowler reported in the IAWM Journal the current state of women and the Proms, which for that year included no works by women composers, or led by women conductors.  However, last year’s Proms included numerous examples of the contributions of women in historical and contemporary music.  (You can read more about the works included in last year’s Proms here.) […]

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