On 1/31/2018, the always sharp Alex Ross published a short but powerful tweet about something he noticed in the 2018/19 season announcements from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Number of female composers programmed by the Chicago Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra for the 2018-19 season: 0
— Alex Ross (@alexrossmusic) January 31, 2018
Not too long ago, we examined a similar lack of women composers in masterworks programming at the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO); in that instance, the BSO included one women composer but now two of their large budget peers have zero.
The ensuing discussion thread to Ross’ tweet is fascinating in and of itself; there’s no shortage of those lamenting the situation but there were some who seemed to think the composers are to responsible for their lack of inclusion while others see the issue as being out of the hands of the organizations making programming decisions.
If nothing else, all of this just goes to demonstrate how imperative, not to mention timely, projects like composer Rob Deemer’s Women Composers Database are for organizations as they make programming decisions.