In the lead up to International Women’s Day on March 8th the media is full of debate on whether the feminist movement is no longer needed or whether further ground needs to be made to achieve gender equality in areas like health, education, wages and violence towards women.
In the world of music the focus is on the need for more women composers and conductors. It’s times like these I’m quietly proud that Women of Note is out there celebrating the achievements of Australia’s women composers. 25 percent of our composers are women, more than almost any other country in the world. Their lives haven’t been easy but their accomplishments are definitely worth celebrating.
And general consensus is that we should be celebrating the positive rather than focusing on the negative.
Why the male domination of classical music might be coming to an end.
For decades – no, make that centuries – the classical music world has sidelined women, if not ignored them completely. But the balance may be finally shifting, says Jessica Duchen.
In a studio at Morley College in south London, a group of teenagers are learning how to stand. Some postures naturally convey authority; something as basic as a different way of walking can establish the impression of control. The first time a conductor meets an orchestra, first impressions are all-important; she has, after all, to persuade a large group of musicians to follow her instructions.
That’s right: her instructions. Last year Morley College initiated an introductory course at which young female music students could have a try at conducting for the first time. The event was among a number of constructive responses to increasing anger about the under-representation of women in parts of the classical music world. Andrea Brown, Morley’s director of music, says that results have exceeded expectations.
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