America’s leading orchestras commit to playing more music by living women composers

30 May 2022, 15:28 | Updated: 30 May 2022, 15:30

America’s leading orchestras commit to playing more music by living women composers
America’s leading orchestras commit to playing more music by living women composers. Picture: Getty

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Over the next several years, 30 leading orchestras in America, including the New York Philharmonic, will commit to performing six new pieces, all written by women.

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On Thursday, the League of American Orchestras announced that it would be launching a new Virginia B. Toulmin Orchestral Commissions Program.

As part of the program, 30 leading ensembles will commit to playing new works by six women composers, with six orchestras leading the way during the 2022-2023, and 2023-2024 seasons.

These six orchestras will give the premieres of these composers’ new works, and each composer has been paired with an ensemble.

These pairings are, Anna Clyne and The Philadelphia Orchestra, Sarah Gibson and Sarasota Orchestra, Angel Lam and the Kansas City Symphony, Gity Razaz and the San Diego Symphony, Arlene Sierra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Wang Lu and the New York Philharmonic.

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The remaining 24 orchestras, all yet to be announced, will give repeat performances of the composers’ works, meaning each composer will get their music performed five times by leading orchestras across the 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25 seasons.

Previous iterations of the Virginia B. Toulmin Orchestral Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program have garnered impressive results, with 22 composers commissioned, 12 premieres completed, and more than 40 women composers benefitting from career development since 2014.

Foundation Trustee Alexander C. Sanger said, “The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation is pleased to partner with the League of American Orchestras and American Composers Orchestra to expand its program of commissioning new orchestral works by female and non-binary composers.

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“Our founder, Virginia B. Toulmin, was a passionate supporter of music and of equality and fairness for women.

“Ever since our first grant to the League in 2012, the foundation has been in the forefront of supporting female composers and is the only foundation in the performing arts dedicated exclusively to advancing and leveling the playing field for female and non-binary creative artists.”