Showing posts with label International Women's Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Women's Day. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Happy International Women's Day!

Thought for the day: let's persuade more of the great male performers to play some music by women!

If female composers are going to achieve equal recognition to male ones, we need men to play their music. After all, women performers play men's music. And one sometimes has the impression it can be a little bit tricky [British understatement -ed.] to persuade blokes to learn the material in question. So, chaps, I'd like to offer you suggestions for some very fine role models.


1. KRYSTIAN ZIMERMAN PLAYS GRAZYNA BACEWICZ (1909-1969): PIANO SONATA NO.2
I remember Zimerman mentioning Grazyna Bacewicz to me in an interview at least 20 years ago - he was determined to champion her works beyond Poland. He proved as good as his word.



2. PHILIPPE JAROUSSKY SINGS POLDOWSKI (1879-1932) 'L'HEURE EXQUISE'
Irene Poldowski was actually Régine Wieniawski, daughter of the violinist. Quite a life. Check her out.



-- 2.2 WHAT A HERO - JAROUSSKY SINGS PAULINE VIARDOT (1821-1910) TOO. 'HAVANAISE'




3. GIDON KREMER & CHARLES DUTOIT PLAY SOFIA GUBAIDULINA (b.1931) : OFFERTORIUM




4. MATT SHARP & DOMINIC HARLAN PLAY ERROLLYN WALLEN (b.1958):
'Dervish' from The Girl in my Alphabet




5. GREGOR PIATIGORSKY PLAYS LILI BOULANGER (1893-1918): Nocturne
Recorded in 1936. Heard since? I hope so...




6. NICHOLAS DANIEL PLAYS THEA MUSGRAVE (b.1928)
His first CD was of her oboe works.





There's plenty more where this comes from, but we still need to keep proving it.



Monday, March 06, 2017

9 of the best musical ways to mark International Women's Day

International Women's Day, 8 March, has risen to become a big deal in music programming these past few years - championing, not before time, the creativity and achievements of women musicians over the years, decades, centuries, often, and still often, against the odds. Here are a few highlights of the celebrations taking place around Britain this week.

• The UK premiere of Fanny Mendelssohn's 'Easter Sonata' when Sofya Gulyak plays it on Wednesday. BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting the performance live from the Royal College of Music at 1pm. The formidably gifted Sofya Gulyak is the only woman ever to have won first prize in the Leeds International Piano Competition. More about the sonata - which was mistaken for a work by Felix for years - and Fanny's 4xgreat-granddaughter Sheila Hayman's efforts on its behalf here.

• Plenty more on BBC Radio 3 this week for International Women's Day: they are playing only music by women on Wednesday 8 March. Catch up on new recordings of music by women with Alexandra Coghlan on Record Review, and an exploration of the works of Dame Ethel Smyth from Kate Kennedy. Now available on the iPlayer. And Composer of the Week is Barbara Strozzi. This is all part of some very welcome, intensive programming focusing on female composers. Full listing for Wednesday here.

• The Southbank Centre's week-long Women of the World Festival launches on Tuesday 7 March, celebrates women's achievements everywhere and surveys the obstacles that still keep them from fulfilling their potential. Musical highlights include the Women of the World Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis at the annual Mirth Control evening hosted by Sandi Toksvig. More here.

• Diana Ambache, head of the Ambache Charitable Trust which offers grants to aid the promotion of female composers, has started a record label and the third release is being launched on Wednesday. It's chamber music by the fabulous Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz, including the Quartet for Four Violins, Trio for Oboe, Violin and Cello, Theme and Variations for Violin and Piano and more. Details here. More to read from Diana on the topic of women composers here.

Dobrinka Tabakova. Photo: Sussie Ahlburg/ECM Records

• St George's Brandon Hill, Bristol, presents a programme featuring the music of the dynamic young composer Dobrinka Tabakova, performed by the very starry Tabakova Players (Alexander Sitkovetsky and Roman Mints, violins; Maxim Rysanov and Philip Dukes, violas; Kristine Blaumane and Dora Kokas, cellos; Stacey Watton, bass; Ashley Wass, piano/harpsichord). Programme includes excerpts from her Grammy-nominated ECM album 'String Paths'. Dobrinka gives a pre-concert talk at 6.15pm. It's the culmination of a whole day of IWD events at St George's. More details here.

• Holywell Music Room, Oxford: soprano Claire Booth, cellist Natalie Clein and pianist Anna Tilbrook present a programme including music by Rebecca Clarke, Lili and Nadia Boulanger both, Elizabeth Lutyens, Clara Schumann, Roxanna Panufnik, Charlotte Bray and a new commission from Deborah Pritchard with text by Jeanette Winterson. Booking and details here.

Ruby Hughes
• Kings Place, London: soprano Ruby Hughes and Friends offer a magnificent baroque programme entitled Heroines of Love and Loss, launching their album of the same name. Music includes works ny Francesca Caccini, Lucrezia Vizzana, Barbara Strozzi, Claudia Sessa, Antonia Bembo, Henry Purcell and John Bennet, as well as a song, 'O Death Rock Me Asleep', attributed to Anne Boleyn. Grab a ticket here.

• Hull University has a full day of events for IWD and as part of this a tribute to Pauline Oliveros is being given in a 4pm concert of her works. More details here.

• Cardiff, Hoddinott Hall: The BBC National Orchestra and Choir of Wales under its principal guest conductor Xian Zhang presents the world premiere of a new choral work, Speak Out, by Kate Whitely, which sets to music the 2013 speech by Malala Yousafzai about the right of every girl to an education. It's a commission from BBC Radio 3. In the same concert the remarkable Latvian Skride sisters, Baibe and Lauma, play Mendelssohn's Double Concerto for violin and piano and the programme ends with Zemlinsky's fairy-tale tone-poem The Little Mermaid. More here.

This are just a few selections, with a classical focus - there is much, much, much, much more out there for IWD in many different genres and countless spheres. And you can even go and hear music by men if you prefer. While the day-long celebration is snowballing into a week, sometimes longer, the challenge now is for women's music and musicianship to be celebrated not only in one patch per year, but across the board, all the time, to the point that special celebrations are no longer needed because equal representation will be a no-brainer, something that would simply be taken for granted. The more women are writing music and giving performances, the better for everyone, because there will be more music of still greater range, offering us all even more choice and even higher standards. Meanwhile, it's worth remembering that forecasts now say the gender pay gap won't close until the year 2186. That's how far we still have to go.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How to mark International Women's Day. Not.



What do you notice about this programme?

• It's taking place on 8 March and the poster says it's a special concert "From Haydn to Piazzolla, to mark International Women's Day..."
• It consists of music entirely by men.
• It is led by a male violinist/conductor.
• The orchestra is all-male, unless there are some players whose names aren't listed here, since on the website picture I can see maybe two or three amid the massed players.
• The music includes "Hymn to Beauty" and some sexy tangos. [Just what we always wanted, yes?]

Beggars belief, really. Anyway, I'll be at the Southbank for the Women of the World Festival, in which events include Strength in Song - Women in Opera, a lively exploration of the power of the female singing voice, with some of ENO's brightest young singers...



UPDATE: The Barbican explains that it's a hall hire with external marketing. More here.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

International Women's Day: Violin Legend #1

This recording is pretty good quality for 1928. This was the year in which votes in the UK were extended to include all women over 21 (not only those over 30). Here is the incredible Jelly d'Arányi - pupil of Hubay, great-niece of Joseph Joachim, inspirer of Ravel's Tzigane, Vaughan Williams's Concerto Accademico, certain bits of Bartók and much more - playing Brahms's Hungarian No.8. Happy International Women's Day!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

International Women's Day: World Piano Legends #2

Just found online the radio broadcast from 1963 in which John Amis interviews the glorious Dame Myra Hess, whose cut-glass accent and irrepressible humour are firmly in place. She remembers what happened when she took a "wrong turning" in Brahms 2 with Sir Henry Wood in 1908, a concert for which she received the "large fee" of 3 Guineas. "Sometimes I was ten and six to the good!" she declares of her mother's book-keeping.

Beecham, she says, was "impossible, because you never knew when you were going to get a rehearsal". And he was "terribly naughty", she adds, performing without the score in music that he didn't always know terribly well.

She reveals, too, that she used to play her own cadenzas, but the manuscripts were now "destroyed and burned". And she talks a good bit about the National Gallery wartime concerts.

Fab quote: "If Mozart isn't spontaneous, it's dead."



Friday, March 06, 2015

International Women's Day continues apace

Great to see International Women's Day really flying this year. There's such a lot going on that I feel quite boggled. Of course, one looks forward to the day when women's equal representation, recognition, pay and respect are taken for granted as human rights and none of this special stuff will be necessary any more. Sad to reflect that instead we're thanking our lucky stars that we live in a part of the world where we have the freedom to have this festival.

If you're in London, get yourself to the Southbank for the WOW Festival - Women of the World - culminating in the annual Mirth Control concert on Sunday night. It features Alice Farnham and Sian Edwards conducting an all-female orchestra in rare works by female composers including Florence Price, plus appearances by amazing singer Angel Blue, the brilliant West End star Sharon D Clarke, the marvellous young musician Ayanna Witter-Johnson, ace comedian Sarah Millican and more. Sandi Toksvig is compère.

Explore the full WOW programme here.



Over on BBC Radio 3 the celebratory programming started earlier this week and extends into next as well. UPDATE: fabulous article here by the R3 presenter Sara Mohr-Pietsch covering this ground and more.

Here is their line-up for the weekend and next week. On Sunday it's the entire day.

Saturday 7 March
CD Review (0900-1215)
Andrew McGregor will be Building a Library on the Clara Schumann Piano Trio with pianist and broadcaster David Owen Norris
Music Matters (1215-1300)
Sara Mohr Pietsch presents a package examining how the world has changed for women writing music across the centuries
Sunday 8 March – International Women’s Day
Geoffrey Smith's Jazz (0000-0100)
Geoffrey Smith presents a portrait of American jazz singer, composer, pianist and actress Carmen McRae
Through the Night (0100-0700)
Through the Night broadcasts music exclusively written by female composers
Breakfast (0700-0900)
A special edition presented by Clemency Burton-Hill
Sunday Morning (0900-1100)
A special edition presented by Rob Cowan and Sarah Walker
Live Concert from the BBC Radio Theatre (1100-1300)
Suzy Klein presents a concert of music by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann and English composer and violist Rebecca Clarke live from the BBC Radio Theatre (1100-1300) with performances from Radio 3 New Generation Artists Lise Berthaud (viola) and Kitty Whatley (mezzo soprano)
Private Passions (1300-1400)
Michael Berkeley talks to composer Anna Meredith
The Early Music Show (1400-1500)
Lucie Skeaping explores the life and work of Italian Baroque singer and composer Barbara Strozzi
Choral Evensong (1500-1600)
A service from King’s College Cambridge with music composed by female composers
The Choir (1600-1700)
A live edition of with a performance of a new commission by young composer Rhiannon Randle by St Catherine’s Choir
Sunday Feature: From Convent to Concert Hall (1845-1930)
Dr Kate Kennedy tells the story of four string players who were pioneers in different eras, from the 18th to the 20th century with contributions from violinist Margaret Faultless and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber
Radio 3 Live in Concert (1930-2200)
Augusta Holmes: Andromede
Boulanger: D’un matin de Printemps
Tailleferre: Concerto for Two Pianos, Mixed Chorus, Saxophones and Orchestra
Chaminade: Konzertstucke
Mélanie Bonis: Trois Femmes de Legende
Katie Derham presenter
Noriko Ogawa piano
Pascal & Ami Roge piano duet
BBC National Chorus of Wales
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Jessica Cottis conductor
Drama on 3 (2200)
Broadcast premiere of Sophocles’ Electra starring Dame Kristin Scott Thomas
Monday 9 March – Friday 13 March
Composer of the Week (Monday-Friday, 1200-1300)
Donald Macleod interviews five female composers under the age of 35 - Charlotte Bray, Anna Clyne, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Hannah Kendall and Dobrinka Tabakova.



Friday, March 08, 2013

Seven - no, EIGHT - things to do on International Women's Day

1. Go to the eclectic Women of the World Festival at the Southbank. Among musically-oriented treats today are Jessye Norman (yes), speaking at 4.30pm this afternoon; and tonight, the OAE with Marin Alsop and soprano Emma Bell in a delicious programme of Mozart, Beethoven, Weber and Schumann, part of the Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers series.

2. Go to the UK premiere of Written on Skin by composer George Benjamin and librettist Martin Crimp, at the Royal Opera House. It is a contemporary masterpiece and, although it's by two men, the story is very much about the sexual emancipation of a woman in the 13th century. I talked to its director, Katie Mitchell, about that, and the article should hopefully be out tomorrow. (Not going to see it until 18th, but I've heard the recording from Aix and found it absolutely amazing. My chat with George about the music for the ROH website is here.)

3. Spend a little time celebrating the music of women composers over the centuries whose work was discouraged, disguised or suppressed, unless it happened to be cute salon music for the home. And remember the ones who went right on ahead and did their own thing. 



4. Spend a little time remembering the great female performers of the past who knuckled down to work instead of knuckling under.



5. Listen to some music by the increasing raft of gifted, dedicated and proud women composers of today, whether on stage, screen, concert hall or multimedia. A reasonably random example, but one I've much enjoyed, is this mingling of space mission, dance, special effects and music by Errollyn Wallen in Falling.



6. Remember that today's greatest women performers simply cannot be bettered.



7. Reflect that it should not be necessary, in an ideal world, to add extra celebration to the achievements of women - in the classical music world as much as anywhere, and more than some - but with sexism so desperately ingrained in our culture, it is.

8. Remember that International Women's Day is all very well, but next we have to sort out the other 364 days of the year.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

International Women's Day - a little listening

As you know, it's International Women's Day - a concept I'm not all that mad about, since it implies that the men get the other 364, and this time 365 because it's a leap year.

Nevertheless, it's a great opportunity to note that great musicianship transcends all those issues. There's a major and ongoing problem with the bimbo-isation, if you'll pardon the term, of young musicians in particular: nobody has any illusions any more that young women have to be selected by agents, record companies and so on for their musicianship above their looks. The standout ones, however, can still win through. Here are an initial selection of just ten of my favourite musicians at the top today: solo instrumentalists at different stages of life whose artistry is exceptional. Please note that no particular order of ranking is implied in this selection - and I could easily have added another ten at the very least. Tomorrow: composers!

Meanwhile, at the Southbank Centre, the festival Women of the World is underway - more details here.

Now, prepare to be wowed...

MARTHA ARGERICH



MITSUKO UCHIDA



IDA HAENDEL

The Sibelius Violin Concerto. Embedding has been disabled - please click through for this amazing 1981 performance. http://youtu.be/BCvs_eWVw7g

ALINA IBRAGIMOVA



JULIA FISCHER



ALISA WEILERSTEIN



ANGELA HEWITT



YUJA WANG



JANINE JANSEN



TASMIN LITTLE