Women Composer Database Project Update: A Marvelous Response So Far!

The response to the post from 3/9/17 introducing readers to Rob Deemer’s Women Composer Database Project has been marvelous. To date, there have been nearly 500 shares and several thousand page views but the best part is how much you’ve been contributing to the project! Let’s take a closer look.

Beyond Social Shares

Sharing the post with friends and colleagues is a critical step in expanding awareness but you’ve blown past that stage and into direct project involvement.

In order to help expand the list and begin filling in details, Deemer created a Google Form which we embedded into the article. I asked Rob to compile some stats and here’s where things are as of now.

“The Google Form has had over 200 submissions; some were already on the list but had no details and others were not part of the lists I had collected to that point,” said Deemer. “In addition, I’ve had several other databases contact me and provided me with access to their names and information. Subsequently, the database has blossomed from just over 1500 composers to close to 2500 composers…in a week! It’s also gone from about 200 composers with completed information to over 500!”

The Database Is Already Producing Positive Results

One of Deemer’s key goals is to see those responsible for artistic programming to use the database to locate and schedule works by women composers. As it turns out, it took less than one week for the added exposure to begin producing those results.

“I was very recently notified by a wind band conductor on Facebook that he had been pointed to the database by a friend and used it to find 25 new works for his repertoire,” said Deemer. “This is exactly why I started the project in the first place!”

On Twitter, Deemer noticed that three Irish composers had begun posting names and pictures of women composers they wanted to see performed and commissioned.

Using the hashtag #hearallcomposers, the number of posts celebrating living women composers exploded. Deemer has been following the thread and has managed to discover more than 60 names that he had yet to cross his path.

Engagement Is Only The Beginning

Now that Deemer is seeing a terrific influx of data, the next big step is getting everything into the database.

“My biggest challenge to this point is getting help to fill out the database, as I’m barely able to keep up adding the new names that are coming in every day from the Google Form,” said Deemer. “But the last week has demonstrated that there is a hunger for new music by women composers and I’m overjoyed to help in some small way.”

Here’s where you can help: get in touch with Rob to let him know you’re able to assist with data entry. All you need is a computer and internet access. You can contact Rob directly and he’ll get you set up with everything you need to begin moving everything from the form responses into the database.

You can also continue to help by completing the composer submission form and sharing with your friends and colleagues.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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