Re:dress Women Composers

Re:dress Women Composers

With Radio 3’s excellent focus on programming women composers since 2015, there has been an increasing awareness of the gaps in our knowledge of works written by women. Orchestras and ensembles have been trying to programme more works by women, with a commitment from orchestras such as Southbank Sinfonia to programme 20 pieces by women in 9 months.

However it is extremely difficult to obtain useful information, parts and recordings of many of these works, some of which are still unpublished, and rarely if ever performed. Most ensembles do not have time or money to spend long in researching such repertoire, and so it remains unplayed, despite goodwill.

About

The Women Composers Project will offer a focal point for researchers and institutions across the world. The project aims to change our understanding of the canon of classical music, and its overwhelmingly male appearance. It will allow access to a whole new repertoire of music by women, presented using innovative and state-of-the-art technologies, and accessible to everyone from school children to managers of professional orchestras.

We will be creating a research base that allows us to find other material that has hardly been used, and to make it accessible. We also aim to:

  • Support programming across the BBC, led by Radio 3;
  • Host live performances;
  • Offer funding to recording of unrecorded works;
  • Develop educational resources for schools;
  • Digitise manuscript scores to make them accessible for performance and study;
  • Host visiting scholars working on recovering the lives and work of female composers as part of the community of biographers at the Oxford Centre for Life-writing, Wolfson College, Oxford.

The project aims to investigate the forgotten identity of women composers, and to redress the balance. Our ultimate aim would be to erase the need for the distinction of ‘female’ composer entirely.

Resources

With thanks to soprano Gabriella Di Laccio, Founder & Curator of Donne: Women in Music, here is a list of women composers.

With thanks to pianist Diana Ambache, founder of The Ambache Charitable Trust, and director of the Ambache Ensemble, here is Women of Notean online resource dedicated to women composers.

Learn about the lives and works of some of the great female composers from BBC Radio 3.

Hre are some clips from Radio 3’s archive.

Here are six archive gems from women composers, broadcast as far back as 1945.

Here is a list of women composers by date from Oxford Music Online, home of Grove Music Online, the world’s premier online music encyclopedia, offering comprehensive coverage of music, musicians, music-making, and music scholarship.

Oxford University Press have published an Orchestral Catalogue and Choral Catalogue for women composers.

Classic FM have published an interesting article on Great Women Composers.

Follow us on Twitter @RedressOxford.

Contribute

We are collecting information about recordings, scores, and manuscripts of music by female composers. It would help us enormously if you could let us know about any that you’re aware of, in as much detail as you can, whether you are the copyright owner or not.

We plan to use these responses to help us create a resource for programmers, orchestras, and choirs who are eager to play music composed by women. We hope to provide accessible information, available to anyone who wants to use it, about where to find these pieces, how long they are, and what they sound like.

Tell us about a recording, a score, or manuscript