“In Praise of Women” – 15 Years on the air

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Painting from Hasht – Behesht palace, Isfahan, Iran, ca. 1669

 

When I began my Classical Discoveries program almost 21 years ago, I made the commitment to include music by women composers on my programs whenever it was possible.

Other than Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schuman and a few other 20th century composers aired often as a token, or during International Women’s Day on March 8th you rarely could hear their works on the airwaves. Fortunately, some Internet venues currently offer a better choice.

I will not get now into the subject of missing women composers from the repertoire of orchestras, since a number of very good articles/blogs have tackled this issue.

This year it is good to hear that many organizations are committing to improve this unfair balance, but will they keep their promise after Women’s History Month passes?
Time will tell.

Since many recordings featuring women composers were available on the market in 2004, I decided to devote my entire programming in March to women, in addition to continue including some examples of their works on each program other than those in March.
It is hard to believe that this year I celebrated my 15th Anniversary of In Praise of Woman on the air and presented a program in 5 parts, totaling 26 hours, which included 127 composers (see the list below).

As always, each special posting included works of women artists whom I would like to take this opportunity to thank for allowing me to use their wonderful images.

It is also hard to believe that this year marked the first time that I was accused of being a sexist. I was harassed every week on the day of each broadcast by one specific Facebook member. I will spare you the other insults directed to me as well as to various women composers and yes, he joined my list of trolls, and obnoxious personalities.

As always, I am exited to be able to present this Classical Discoveries program on WPRB 103.3fm to listeners each week and looking forward to next year.

If you missed broadcast, the MP3 file will be available till 4/18/2018 at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/index_in_praise_of_woman_2018_temporary_file.html

The list of composers included in 2018 In Praise of Woman

fire_in_the_hills

Fire in the Hills by Lesley Mitchell (d. 2017)

Katy Abbott
Raphaella Aleotti **
Beth Anderson
Lera Auerbach
Maya Badian
Sally Beamish
Eve Beglarian
Antonia Bembo **
Lauren Bernofsky
Hildegard von Bingen **
Olga Bochihina
Sylvie Bodorova
Anna Bon **
Alla Borzova
Jennifer Castellano

daffodils_in_a_vase

Daffodills in Vase by Denise Ann Saldutti Egielski

Blanca de Castilla **
Lubica Cekovska
Nicole Chamberlain
Aleksandra Chmielewski
Anna Clyne
Jane Antonia Cornish
Gloria Coates
Claire Cowan
Chiara Margarita Cozzolani **
Zulema De la Cruz
Rachel Currea
Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre **
Elisabetta De’Mirkovich
Camilla de Rossi **
Claire Delbos
Jeanne Demessieux
Emma Lou Diemer

rest
Rest by Polish artist Iwona Altmayer

Johanna Doderer
Suor Leonora d’Este **
Ewa Fabianska-Jelinska
Carlotta Ferrari
Vivian Fine
Tania Gabrielle French
Vivian Fung
Nancy Galbraith
Alice Gomez
Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee
Ida Gotkovsky
Lee Gowoon
Galina Grigorjeva
Juliana Hall

21-in-the-nursery
In the Nursery by  Dr. Laurie Sucher-Gaster (1942-2009)

Barbara Harbach
Amanda Harberg
Jennifer Higdon
Leonie Holmes
Gao Hong
Katherine Hoover
Anna Maria Huszcza
Juste Janulyte
Eleni Karaindrou
Anna Ignatowicz
Lydia Kakabadse
Gaby Kapps
Dorothy Lawson
Jane Leslie
Isabella Leonarda **
Zara Levina
Clare Loveday
Ljubica Maric

Sabina_Suleymanova_Waiting
Waiting by Azerbaijani Artist Sabina Suleymanova at: AZgallery.org

Missy Mazzoli
Sky Macklay
Ann McGinty
Joanne Metcalf
Lisa Miles
Lee Pui Ming
Jocelyn Morlock
Nora Morrow
Jessie Montgomery
Martha Mooke
Beata Moon
Grainne Mulvey
Tamar Muskal
Gabriela Ortiz
Roxanna Panufnik
Victoria Poleva
Florence Price

Holdenhurst_Avenue_in_the_Snow

Holdenhurst Avenue in the Snow by English Artist: Margaret Erber

Shulamit Ran
Santa Ratniece
Gitty Razaz
Mona Lyn Reese
Andrea L. Reinkemeyer
Justina Repeckaite
Belinda Reynolds
Marga Richter
Betty Roe
Elena Ruehr
Diloram Saidaminova
Alex Shapiro
Caroline Shaw
Jeanne E. Shaffer
Marilyn Shrude

05_with_white_gloves_on
With White Gloves On Out of the Dream in Which They Are Still Al by Anne Canfield

Arlene Sierra
Maria Huld Markan Sigfusdottir
Dina Smorgonsky
Cristina Spinei
Sarah E. Stanton
Barbara Strozzi **
Agnieszka Stulginska
Andrea Tarrodi
Ylva Skog
Christine Southworth
Caroline Szeto
Gevheri Sultan
Yoko Suzuki
Dobrinka Tabakova
Andrea Tarrodi
Anna Thorvaldsdottir

akhundzade_afat_snowdrops.jpg

Snowdrops by Afat Akhundzade at: AZgallery.org

Joan Tower
Nancy Van de Vate
Mariliis Valkonen
Anne Vanschothorst
Kate Waring
Kate Whitley
Barbara White
Amy Williams
Shara Worden
Rain Worthington
Sinta Wuller
Susanna K. Wallumrød
Judith Lang Zaimont
Gaziza Zhubanova
Ellen Zwilich
Ming-Hsiu Yen

 

 

Lyn_collage

Lyn Lyndall – Collage of wild life and domestic animal miniature 4×4 paintings – http://www.lionfirestudio.com/

 

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To celebrate Women’s History Month, MP3 files from Nov. 27, 2017 broadcast of Treasures of Early Music – Women Composers Edition were available for listening for limited time. The 5.5 hour long program included 39 works by 28 women composers before 1750.

 

Links to some interesting websites
International Alliance for Women in Music
Hildegard Publishing Company – Founded in 1988 by Sylvia Glickman to promote & preserve the music of women composers of the past and present
The Kapralova Society – Dedicated to promoting women in music
New York Women Composers
DIANA AMBACHE on WOMEN COMPOSERS
Wikipedia List of female composers
WOMEN’S HISTORY & IMPACT ON THE WORLD
The Living Composers Project
American Music Center
Women Composers Database – by Rob Deemer
10 Black Women Composers to Discover – by Jordannah Elizabeth

 

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Who is Marga Richter?

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I do not remember when I heard the music of Marga Richter for the first time.  It was most likely on an MGM LP from the 1950’s including music by my idol Alan Hovhaness.

 

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Marga Richter

 

Over the years, I have acquired many of her recordings and have presented her music many times on my radio program Classical Discoveries. I also had the opportunity to speak to her a few times over the phone.

It is somewhat sad that a noteworthy, living composer, celebrating her 90th birthday on October 21 is not being included, to my knowledge, on any major orchestral concerts this season.

 

It would be wonderful to hear live performance of “Blackberry Vines and Winter Fruit” or some of her other wonderful works in place of one more popular composition of Brahms, Mozart or Beethoven, etc.

Luckily she is not totally forgotten. voila_capture-2016-10-20_163002

On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Classical Discoveries, the program devoted to lesser known works and a champion of living composers, will pay tribute to Marga and present the program “Who is Marga Richter,” a spotlight on the composer celebrating her 90TH birthday on WPRB 103.3 FM Princeton NJ, or on the Internet at: http://wprb.com/.

During the course of a 5 ½ hour program that airs from 5:30 till 11:00am EST, you will have opportunity to hear approximately 2.5 hours of Marga’s music and if you miss the broadcast you will have a chance to listen to the archived program at Classical Discoveries website for limited time at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/index_10_26_2016_temporary_file.html

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You should really familiarize yourself with this wonderful composer. Here some interesting links:

http://www.margarichter.com/

http://www.newyorkwomencomposers.org/profiles.php4?zdm_id=RIC01

http://composers21.com/compdocs/richterm.htm

http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/45snz6dc9780252037313.html

http://www.kcstudio.com/richter2.html

Marga Richter’s POETIC IMAGES BEYOND POETRY,

The Women Are Coming

Fifteen years ago, on my first Classical Discoveries program on WPRB, I played a work of the Polish violinist and composer, Grażyna Bacewicz. At this time it was hard to find a CD or LP with women composers and buying over the Internet had just begun.

Miniature painting of female musicians from Hasht-Behesht palace, Isfahan, Iran, from 1669

Before my marriage, I had no idea that March 8 was celebrated all over the world as International Women’s Day. My almost wife informed me that she was accustomed to receive her favorite flowers, freesia on that day.

When my first March came along, together with a Hovhaness birthday tribute, I played the music of a few women composers and my wife got a wonderful bouquet of freesia. Actually, to find freesia was easier than to find recordings of music by women, since this was the time of the Philadelphia Flower Show and the region exploded with flowers.

As my CD collection was growing I was able to eventually devote the entire month of March to woman composers.  This is how the annual series “In Praise Of Woman” was born and you know the rest.

Every March from 2004, in observance of Women’s History Month, Classical Discoveries pays tribute to music by women composers from all over the world and through the centuries. Every regular scheduled program (that includes the Avant-Garde Edition from 2009) is exclusively devoted to their music.

I heard many times the opinion that women are not capable to compose, write and paint, based on amount of work they left through the ages. On my webpage devoted to this program I quoted a few years ago the following:

History was not very kind to women in the past. They were destined to be wives and mothers, were kept away from education and culture by controlling fathers, brothers and husbands. Women were forbidden to write, compose, or paint and the only way for some to escape that path was to join a convent, however these often had many restrictions imposed by male superiors.

The lucky ones born to wealthy or artistic families were allowed to be creative, often only till they got married. Some of them could not escape the sad destiny of having their works claimed by men.  Many women did not sign their works or they used a male name. It has been suggested by many researchers that women are behind many anonymous works.

I think they did pretty well considering all the obstacles they faced and it is time for us men, to admit that we were responsible for those obstacles.

Of course, I did reference to the past, but if you turn on the radio and TV these days you wonder if we are going back in time and if the above comment will apply in the next 10 years. I hope it never comes to that.

Yes, I must admit that it is better for women now. Some have even gotten the recognition they deserve, but that is not enough.

There are not many places where one can learn about woman composers.  You definitely won’t learn much by attending most concerts or by listening to your typical classical radio station where most likely the average listener won’t be able to name 5 women composers.

I teach Music History for the Young Artist program at Westminster Conservatory and always make sure to include women composers in my presentations. I get a lot of pleasure seeing young women’s faces light up with pride on the news that we had women composers in all historical periods. You should have seen my surprise after asking if anyone knew who the first woman was who wrote a sonata and hearing the name Isabella Leonarda coming from the mouth of 16-year-old student. In fact, I wonder how many regular classical music listeners know who she was? Yes, my message is getting through.

Preparing for all of my programs of women composers reminded me about a rather disturbing Facebook incident, where I had been accused (not a long time ago) for patronizing women. Since I was devoting a whole Classical Discoveries program to music written by women I was sending a wrong message to a young impressionable women. (sic)

The whole incident started turn ugly and engaged many listeners and composers in my defense.  I tried not to get to involved with this, but eventually I had no choice but write the following statement to my attacker to stop her from continuing this farce.

I do consider myself as very sensitive guy, careful not to hurt someone feelings. I have never thought that calling a composer – a woman composer might hurt some. The English language does not give us flexibility like other languages to make that distinction. Is it really so bad to be called a woman composer?

I never thought in my life that a young impressionable woman would get the wrong message listening to only women composers on Classical Discoveries. I wonder why so many of them (young women) wrote to me over the years saying that I opened their eyes showing how many great women composers exist, and that they are very proud being women musicians or/and composers.

Someone does not need to patronize me by telling me that I might have good intentions. I do not.  I do the right thing by devoting whole programs to women composers even if one person does not like it.  As the creator of this program I have total artistic freedom how, what and when I present it. In my program, considering the limited time I have, I do the best to present unknown composers and that includes men also.

By the way I asked and never heard from you if it is ok for a woman radio host to devote a whole program to women composers. Guess what? Since you never answered, I am not interested to find this from you anymore. I would like to thank you in advance for bowing out and not continuing this farce. I would especially like to thank as well all of my (sometimes insulted) supporters. …I consider this subject closed, it seems that no one who responded agrees with your opinion, however, I promise you that I will respect any wish from any composer not to be played on my program.

At the end, the attacker claiming to be a musician, bowed out, and this is bizarre – she admitted to not having any idea what my program was about and admitted she never listened to it.

I do not expect any more problems like this and she is no more my Facebook friend. So far I have not received even one letter from a composer requesting that his/her music would not to be played on my program.

Persian Musician of Qajar Dynasty

So here we are on the brink of the 9th Annual  “In Praise of Woman” –  four weeks of nothing but music by women.

If you have not visited my website, here is the information:

The first two shows of the series will air Wednesday, March 07, 2012 at 5:30am and will be devoted to American Women composers. On March 14, Classical Discoveries will host live, in the WPRB studio, Cuban composer Tania León  and on March 21, English composer Roxanna Panufnik

and all that will happen on WPRB 103.3 FM Princeton NJ, or on the Internet at: http://www.wprb.com/listen.php

To find past playlists of the annual series and other programs devoted to music by women composers go to
In Praise of Woman page.

Please check the weekly posting for highlights and upcoming features at http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org

Also, this year you will be able to listen to archived programs for two weeks at: http://www.classicaldiscoveries.org/index_music

If you are on Facebok please join the Event at : https://www.facebook.com/events/361012613933524/

 

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