Women in Music BBC Proms Survey 2018 shows a significant improvement on previous Proms seasons

For some years Women in Music (UK) has been doing a survey of the numbers of women represented in the BBC PROMS season.  The Proms is the largest classical music festival in the world. This year there are 57 main evening orchestral concerts, as well as chamber music concerts, daytime events and late-night concerts. The audiences in the Royal Albert Hall are of many thousands, and all the concerts are broadcast, many on television.

This year the Proms Director, David Pickard, has publicly proclaimed that he intends to redress the balance between men and women. As far as composers are concerned he says his aim is to increase the number of BBC commissions to women until half of new commissions for the Proms season are for  women by the year 2022.

The figures for women in the 2018 BBC Proms season are:

Composers:                   19/133  (14%)               [Last year was 9/120]

Living composers:         17/43    (40%)               [Last year was 8/36]

BBC Commissions:       12/19    (63%)               [Last year was 4/13]

Conductors:                  4/58      (7%)                 [Last year was 7/57]

This year I have made a new category for the number of living composers whose works are substantial (more than 15 mins) and are featured in main evening concerts. This is because many of the new commissions this year are for short pieces in chamber concerts or “family” concerts.

Substantial works by living composers: 5/14 (36%)

The women composers are: Kerry Andrew, Lili Boulanger, Tansy Davies, Bushra El-Turk, Suzanne Farrin, lisa Illean, Hannah Kendall, Anna Meredith, Isobel Mundry, Thea Musgrave, Laura Mvula, Olga Neuwirth, Roxanna Panufnik, Eve Risser, Nina Senk, Caroline Shaw, Ethel Smyth, Jessica Wells, Agata Zubel

The conductors are: Marin Alsop; Karina Canellakis; Sian Edwards; Jane Glover.

To analyse the results:  These figures are substantially better than they have ever been. The previous best for composers was in 2015 when there were 12 female composers in the Proms season. The number of female conductors is down from last year, but that was an all-time high. Last year when I looked at the duration of the works by living composers I found that only one woman composer had a substantial work (15 mins or over), and that was not in a main evening concert at the Royal Albert Hall. That was compared to 17 substantial works by male composers in the main evening concerts. To have 5 substantial works by women this year is unprecedented.

It does seem that there is a marked improvement regarding the proportion of women composers in the 2018 BBC Proms season, with promise of this continuing.  I take it that this is, in part, a response to the publicity generated by Women in Music (my survey started in the 1980s) and taken up by other music journalists and publicists. Result!

I have never implied that the BBC Proms season is any worse than any other substantial classical music season or festival – only that it is representative. I will now have to think whether to continue the Proms survey, or maybe switch attention to other seasons elsewhere.

                                                                                                Jenny Fowler

NOTE: Anyone is welcome to quote these statistics, but please mention the source. The figures for past Proms seasons are also available on the Women in Music (UK) website: www.womeninmusic.org.uk

PRS Key Change - 60 participants and 45 venues agreeing to 50 50 programming!

Key Change is a major initiative by PRS Foundation which looks to make major changes in how Festivals and venues programme with an assurance from 45 YES! 45! Festivals and venues to programme 50/50 male and female artists in the next 4 years - by 2022.

Congratulations from Women in Music  - something we have been advocating for a long time!

"Keychange is an exciting new European project which celebrates and invests in the talent of female music creators and innovators who will be driving the future success of the music industry.

Through keychange showcases and collaborations, a programme of creative labs and a digital platform will give a new network of 60 women the chance to extend their reach to audiences across Europe and connect with the pioneering work of leaders from tech, design, music, audiovisual and other sectors which are shaping creative industries development. Our mission is to accelerate the industry’s recognition of women’s potential artistic and economic value so that we can transform the music industry for current and future generations.

30 emerging female artists & 30 innovators/industry professionals (10 participants per country) will be selected to take part in Keychange and travel to leading music festivals across Europe and in Canada."

See the website for more information about participants and partners: Key Change

Our favourite blogger (and author and critic and more ) Jessica Duchen featured this in a recent JDMB post. Jessica always champions women in music. 

These posts also trigger @WomeninMusicUK twitter posts - do follow us and we will follow you back 

Celebrating Women in Sound at Goldsmiths on International Women's Day March 8th

Celebrating women in sound is a remarkable event at Goldsmiths - University on International Women's Day itself March 8th. Follow the link to find out more : Goldsmiths events

A highlight is an opportunity to have a guided tour of the WRPM archive!

To celebrate International Women’s Day, as part of "Celebrating Women in Sound", Special Collections provide tours of the "Women’s Revolutions Per Minute (WRPM)" archive.

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, in the centenary year of UK women aged 30 and over in the UK gaining the vote, the Unit for Sound Practice Research at Goldsmiths, University of London and Women in Sound Women on Sound (WISWOS) and are launching Celebrating Women in Sound, a day of sound-related activities featuring the work of female-identifying artists at Goldsmiths. The purpose of International Women’s Day is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women; perhaps more importantly, the day is a call to action to change the shape of society and to push for gender parity in all areas.

Activity #3: Between 1.30-2.30pm and again between 3.30-4.30pm: Tours of the WRPM (Women's Revolutions Per Minute) Archive.
Women’s Revolutions Per Minute (WRPM) was an independent, feminist music distribution network active 1977-2005. It distributed music by women, for women, and about women, typically from artists with a feminist or lesbian feminist standpoint. It distributed music by women, for women, and about women, typically from artists with a feminist or lesbian feminist standpoint. 

There are over 1500 music items and a great many related items. There will be discussions and sonic experiences as well.

See also our Whats On pages in www.womeninmusic.org,uk 

Arab Women Artists Now March 2018 London

Arab Women Artists Now is a wonderful Festival in  London which showcases and highlights Arab Women in the arts across all disciplines. Music is a major part of the season with some premieres and some favourites. Have a look at the programme and see what interests you. Yuma is especially recommended. 

Ÿuma perform their original mashups of oriental and western songs.

Appearing on the music scene on December 20, 2015, Ÿuma became known on the web for their original mashups of oriental and western songs. They create bridges between the cultures of both shores of the Mediterranean, and their unique brand of indie folk places them at the forefront of Tunisian alternative music today. ....

Awan is produced by Arts Canteen