Classical 91.5

women composers

The Metropolitan Opera announced today (Sep 23, 2020) that the ongoing health crisis has resulted in the cancellation of the entire 2020–21 season, but the company also announced ambitious artistic plans for its 2021–22 season, which will open with the Met premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Blanchard’s opera is the first by an African American composer to be performed at the Met.

Born in the UK in 1886, Rebecca Clarke studied composition at the Royal College of Music in London from 1907–10. But her studies stopped abruptly before she was able to finish. Learn more about Rebecca in the 9/12 broadcast or online.

Feminine Fusion explores the life and music of composer Cecile Chaminade in the August 15th broadcast.

Musical Women of the Suffrage Movement

Feb 28, 2020
Portrait of Dame Ethyl Smyth by John Singer Sargent (1901)

As we prepare to celebrate Women's History Month, our minds are on trailblazing women of the past and present. Last month we celebrated Susan B. Anthony’s 200th birthday and our own Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra presented concerts on the music of suffrage and Susan B. Anthony herself. As I explored this music, I was drawn to suffrage songs and the women who created and inspired them. Many of these composers changed the game for women in music, but they are not often remembered today.

For many composers, getting a piece played by a single American orchestra is a major coup. A repeat in another city is a rare victory; a third outing is a miracle. So it’s not clear what one should call the run that Joan Tower’s Made in America had in the early 2000s, when it was performed by more than 65 orchestras in all 50 states.

A lifelong champion of living composers, Tower became an advocate for women composers specifically, taking stands on granting panels and fighting for compatriots like Tania León and Jennifer Higdon.

10/5      Women Walking in Their Own Shoes Groundbreaking women who follow their own path

10/12    Telling Tales  National Storytelling Weekend is Oct 4-6, so we’ll explore music that tells stories

10/19    Patchwork Quilt, Part XVI Another episode, sharing performance and works by women

10/26    Strung Along  Women playing strings

6/1       Looking North  Music by women from Canada

6/8       Looking South Music by women from the Southern Hemisphere

6/15      Looking East, Part 2 Music by women from Asia and the Middle East

6/22      Looking West Music by women from Europe

6/29      Looking Toward Home Music by women from the United States

Global Dimension

On International Women's Day (March 8th), WQXR, one of the largest classical radio stations in the U.S. presented a challenge to classical stations across the country.  To present a full day of classical music composed, conducted and performed by women and to make a conscious decision to increase the percentage of music being played by women over the next 12 months.

APM Stations

3/8 at 3:00pm Irish Inspirations: Women in Irish Classical Music (Rpt Sun 3/17, 2:00pm)

Say what you will about beauty pageants, but this one is a winner in the eyes of classical music fans.  On Sunday night in Atlantic City, opera singer and composer Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America.  

Franklin is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina who earned her master's degree in music composition from UNC School of the Arts.  She moved to New York after being accepted at the Kenan Fellow program at Lincoln Center Education in Manhattan.