Women Composers Festival, 9 July, 7.30 pm, Southbank Centre, London

The London Oriana Choir, Edinburgh Singers, Southern Spirit Singers, and Archer Academy will perform music by women composers, including new commission by Hannah Kendall. The programme looks really great, get to this if you can.

Mia Makaroff: Butterfly
Kate Rusby: Underneath the stars arr. Jim Clements
Sarah Quartet: Swept away
Eleanor Daley: Set me as a seal
Aileen Sweeney: We will no longer sing into the silence
Judith Weir: My Guardian Angel
Annie Lennox: Love song for a Vampire
Jessica Curry: Home
Cecilia McDowall: Regina Caeli
Jessica Curry: I loved you first
Cheryl Frances-Hoad: So true a fool is love
Ailsa Dixon: These things shall be
Hannah Kendall: Tuxedo: Dust Bowl #2
Rebecca Dale: Salve regina
Shruthi Rajasekar: Green Fingers
Anna Disley-Simpson: In the blue
Tara Mack: In Lak'ech (You are my other me)
Kerry Andrew: who we are

Sat 9 Jul, 7.30pm
Queen Elizabeth Hall
Southbank Centre

BBC data shows festival lineup inequality yet again, and a response from the MU

BBC research shows that only 13% of festival headliners are female despite campaigns and promises for a 50:50 gender balance by 2022.


The Musicians' Union responds, noting the need to address wider problems than just the festivals themselves, and the damage caused to the industry by this lack of representation.


JAM and VOCES8 launch a year-long masterclass series

JAM’s Masterclass Series 2022 is a composition course in choral writing, aimed at emerging UK-based composers. It is free and open to all UK-based composers aged 18+.


Composers are asked to submit a sketch by Friday 20th May 2022. These should be

·       A maximum of 50 bars and

·       written for SATB to SSAATTBB choir, a cappella.

·       All texts must be in the public domain.

·       Composers who submit must be able to attend the workshop in person to participate


On 9th July, a maximum of six composers, who have submitted sketches, will be offered the chance to take part in a choral workshop with VOCES8 and composer Paul Mealor. The workshop will take place at St Leonard's Church, Hythe, Kent.

To watch bite-size choral writing videos by VOCES8 and for full details of this free masterclass series please visit https://jamconcert.org/jam-masterclass-series-2022/

“Nurturing emerging composers is extremely important to me. JAM’s Masterclass Series does exactly this.” Paul Mealor, composer and JAM President.


The six composers who have participated in the workshop will then be asked to submit their completed pieces to JAM by 2nd September.


All six pieces will be performed by the VOCES8 Foundation in a recorded, public concert at St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street in October. At the end of this performance one of the composers will be awarded the President's Commission of £500. The commission will be premiered at JAM's 'Music of Our Time' concert in March 2023.

JAM: Music of Our Time - 23 March 7.30 pm - St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London

Two premieres, a newly commissioned brass quintet by Janet Wheeler, and The Hand that Made Us Is Divine by Kathryn Rose, feature in this concert that opens JAM's 2022 season, its first Music of Our Time concert since March 2019.

The full programme is

The Lord is my Light by William Harmer

Clarion Song (Op59) by Christopher Best

In Drifts of Sleep by Richard Peat

The Hand that Made Us Is Divine by Kathryn Rose

Carol of the Passion by Philip Lancaster 

New Commission (for brass quintet) by Janet Wheeler

Between the Stormclouds and the Sea by Jack Oades (with text by Grahame Davies)

The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge

Onyx Brass | Simon Hogan, organ | Mark Le Brocq, tenor | Grahame Davies, narrator

Michael Bawtree, conductor

7.30pm, Wednesday 23rd March

St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8AU



Three Centuries of Female Composers (10-CD Box Set) - Worldwide Release Marking International Women's Day 2022

Women in Music would like to congratulate composer and pianist Dr Tanya Ekanayaka and all those involved in the release of this marvellous collection.

Dr Tanya Ekanayaka - by Nadine Ishaq

Tanya writes

It gives me great pleasure to share with you, news of a unique release in celebration of International Women’s Day 2022 on 8th March. 

A limited-edition 10-CD boxset titled, 3 CENTURIES OF FEMALE COMPOSERS containing works for solo piano by some of the greatest female piano composers through history is being released worldwide today (4th March). Many of you will likely recognise many of the composers and some of the music in this set can be accessed entirely free!  

I’m deeply honoured that one of the CDs, (CD 9), comprises my own compositions for solo piano mostly composed during lockdown in 2020, and performed by me. Not least because of the beautiful context am I touched by this inclusion, but also because a core aspect of my creative practice as a South Asian woman composer-pianist with a very multicultural lived musical background, focuses on broadening the musical imprint of the piano across cultures and ‘spaces’ not traditionally associated with the pianistic canon. 

The set is being released by Naxos Records (Grand Piano) and the following Naxos Records web-link contains full details https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=GP897X

The release note published by Naxos Records on their official web-page dedicated to the release and full list of composers featured are as follows:  

“Ranging from the 18th century to the music of our time, this collection of critically acclaimed recordings explores the significant contribution to solo piano repertoire made by a wide variety of women composers. These rare and important pieces include the works of the celebrated pianist Anne-Louise Brillon de Jouy and of Hélène de Montgeroult, whose sonatas are distinctive additions to the Classical and early Romantic periods. Maria Szymanowska’s deft dances contrast with the fearsome demands of Teresa Carreño, herself a great virtuoso. Vítězslava Kaprálová was the most important female Czech composer of the 20th century, while Agathe Backer Grøndahl was one of Norway’s most respected composer-pianists. Tanya Ekanayaka continues the lineage in her own diverse and hybrid pieces.” – NAXOS RECORDS 

Composers included (in alphabetical order) – 

Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska 

Amy Beach 

Anna Bon 

Lili Boulanger 

Anne-Louise Boyvin d'Hardancourt  Brillon de Jouy 

Teresa Carreño 

Cécile Chaminade 

Tanya Ekanayaka 

Chiquinha Gonzaga 

Agathe Backer Grøndahl 

Vítězslava Kaprálová 

Emma Kodály 

Haruna Miyake 

Hélène-Antoinette-Marie de Nervo de Montgeroult 

Tatiana Nikolayeva 

Dora Pejačević 

Florence Beatrice Price 

Clara Schumann 

Maria Szymanowska

And finally, here’s a little preview video: 

International Women's Day 8 March 2022 celebrated on BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 is playing music written by women all day in celebration of International Women's Day. Composers include:

Composer of the week Henriette Bosmans.

Lunchtime concert by the BBC Singers and organist Anna Lapwood with music by Kristina Arakelyan, June Nixon, Kerensa Briggs,
Sarah MacDonald, Melissa Dunphy, Cecilia McDowall, Judith Bingham and Ghislaine Reece-Trapp.

Afternoon concert including music by Joan Tower, Francesca Caccini, Lotta Wennäkoski, Isabella Leonarda, Erika Fox, Dora Pejacevic, Thea Musgrave, Dora Pejačević, and Elfrida Andrée.

In tune mixtape includes works by Doreen Carwithen, Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Errollyn Wallen, Clara Schumann and Laura Mvula.

Radio 3 in concert gives music by Maddalena Casulana and Barbara Strozzi.

Well done radio 3, and we would like more of this every day.


Songs & Stories from “The Somerville Connexion” - 7pm 8th March 2022 online

For International Women's Day, electric voice theatre are presenting this online concert of vocal music that celebrates women in the ambit of the nineteenth century astronomer and mathematician Mary Somerville.

Works to be performed include

Cheryl Frances-Hoad Something More Than Mortal (Words by Ada Lovelace)

Lynne Plowman Seven Dark Lines

Eliza Flower (1803 – 1846) Now Pray We for our Country and Rebecca’s Hymn

Isabella Scott Gibson (1786–1838) Row Gondolier and Lochnagar

Helen Blackwood, Lady Dufferin (1807 – 1867) The Charming Woman

Nicola Lefanu Wishing from “Rory’s Rounds”

Frances M Lynch ADA BAB(BLE)


The Routledge Handbook of Women’s Work in Music

This new Routledge Handbook, which arose from the papers given at the First International Conference on Women's Work in Music, held at Bangor University in 2017, and edited by Rhiannon Mathias, is an important new collection of diverse research and practitioner reporting in this field. Routledge describe it as 'a key reference work for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers in music and gender'. It is available as an ebook as well as a hardback volume.


Stranger Fruit Contemporary Reflections on Jazz & Blues Women Zoom Feb 26th and fortnightly

Stranger Fruit 
Contemporary reflections on the lives of Jazz and Blues women and their legacies
Fortnightly online participatory Zoom sessions Feb 26th, March 12th, March 26th April 9th
8pm UK time

Transculturalvisions in partnership with Griots Arts and Outerglobe presents Stranger Fruit: Contemporary reflections on the lives of Jazz and Blues women and their legacies, a participatory zoom programme with fortnightly sessions between February 26th and April 9th 2022.  Arts advocates Debbie Golt and Marva Jackson Lord will host. Four contemporary women musicians of profile choose a fellow artist who inspires them and will share how their own music and practice is impacted by their chosen person. Each session will feature illustrated interviews with Sharron Macloed (voice/flute), Charlotte Keeffe (trumpet), RENU (percussion) and Roella Oloru (multi-instrumentalist) in turn. They will play their own music live inviting the others and eventually audience members to join in open ended improvisations together in real time on zoom. Visual artist Clare Marshall will paint inspired by the music and discussions during the zoom. The sessions will be free and participants will be able to register via a website - www.strangerfruit.net  

Bilkis Malek, Director of Transculturalvisions said ‘Women are central to the origins and evolution of Jazz and Blues and have inspired some of the most famous musicians and their contributions are not always well known. I think of Ma Rainey whose gravelly vocals inspired Louis Armstrong, Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt and Victoria Spivey who nurtured the talent of Bob Dylan. There is also Mama Ray Thornton who originally recorded Hound Dog which was one of Elvis Presley’s biggest hits. Stranger Fruit picks up on this theme with our four invited musicians who look at artists who they have been inspired by and who in turn may not be so well known or understood.”

As might be assumed, the title Stranger Fruit is indeed inspired by “Strange Fruit” originally sung by Billie Holiday, written by Abel Meeropol. The song is recognised as a protest against the lynching of black Americans and identifies the victims with the fruit of trees. The central invitation of the series is to imagine what would it be like if strangers were seen as a product of a society, or community’s own making, voices highlighting our fault lines and how we might imagine things differently. Taking this as a theme the series also aims to represent women as being in charge of their destinies and not victims as the Blues and Jazz women are so  often portrayed when they do get a mention. In fact women have been central to the origins and evolution of jazz and blues and advocates of female empowerment through independence, sassiness and sexual freedom. Through the series as each musician reflects on the how their chosen artist inspires them and how their music, innovation and style has made a difference to their own approaches and development, the aim is to transform perceptions of women’s impact on contemporary music and culture. Perhaps a more liberating view of identity and understanding of differences will emerge.