By Hannah Schiller
13 May 2019
American orchestras have taken some steps to represent women composers, but that there is still a long way to go. So says a newly-released study by Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy (WPA). This non-profit organization, which promotes the performance of works by women composers, analyzed the subscription series of 2019-20 seasons of the 21 American orchestras with the highest operating budgets.
Here were the two main findings of WPA’s research for the 2019-20 season:
- 19% of composers featured will be women — 53 women composers out of 277 total across the 21 sampled orchestras
- 8% of works that will be performed are composed by women — 79 works by women out of 927 works total programmed by the 21 sampled orchestras
These numbers both represent an increase from previous years. As WPA points out, all 21 orchestras have included at least one work by a woman in their 2019-20 season. The same could not be said for 2018-19, in which four orchestras (Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Houston) did not present a single work by a woman composer in their flagship series. This uptick may suggest that orchestras are slowly but surely expanding the presence of women composers in their programming.
Read the full article on wfmt.