Barbican Responds to International Women's Day Concert Advert

WiM has had a response from the Barbican to the issue we raised about the concert by the Moscow Virtuosi on 8 March which was billed as a International Women's Day event in BBC Music Magazine.  Huw Humphreys, the Head of Music at the Barbican, says

'This concert is a rental of the Barbican Hall with the marketing of the event undertaken by an outside promoter, and while the concert does fall on International Women's Day it was not programmed to mark this event. The Barbican had not been sent nor approved this version of the advert and had not been made aware that the promoter intended to market it in this way. We recognise that it is entirely inappropriate to claim any link between the concert and lnternational Women's Day, and have instructed the concert promoter to remove all mention of this from any future advertising copy.

Having spoken to the promoter since this advert was brought to our attention, it appears that the promoter had misunderstood the focus of International Women's Day, on celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. They informed us that they included the mention in the advert as the focus and ways of celebrating International Women's Day are different in former Soviet Union countries. While this in no way excuses the advert making this link, I iust wanted to provide some context to try to explain how this error has occurred.

I'd like to sincerely apologise on behalf of the Barbican for any offence caused and would like to assure you again that we absolutely agree that it was entirely inappropriate for the promoter to make this link between the concert and lnternational Women's Day in the way that it is understood in the UK and internationally.

The Barbican is programming an event to mark International Women's Day on 8 March 2018 which features the Insula Orchestra led by the Laurence Equilbey, featuring soloist Alexandra Corunova, Natalie Clein and Alice Sara Ott and celebrating the chamber and orchestral music of Louise Farrenc.'

So watch out for the Barbican's 2018 celebration.  Perhaps they could have done something meaningful this year too.

Is this how the Barbican and the Moscow Virtuosi really intend to mark International Women's Day?

In the January issue of BBC Music Magazine there is a full-page advertisement for a concert on 8th March at the Barbican, London "to mark International Women's Day". It is to be given by the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.

The program consists entirely of male composers.

The photograph on the Barbican website shows members of the orchestra - all male. The photo on the orchestra website shows 2 women and 26 men. There are 8 soloists listed at the Barbican event, 7 of whom are men.

Is this how the Barbican and the Moscow Virtuosi really intend to mark International Women's Day?


Welcome to Women in Music UK's blog.  Here we will be able to discuss issues that any member would like to bring to the group.  I hope everyone finds this blog useful and informative.  All the best.