Even the Score: Female composers edge forward

“Last year, NewMusicBox, an online magazine for contemporary classical music, published an essay by the composer Amy Beth Kirsten entitled “The ‘Woman Composer’ Is Dead.” Kirsten acknowledged that women have had an agonizingly difficult time gaining a creative foothold in classical music, whose repertory is male-dominated to a stifling degree. But, in light of the international renown of such figures as Kaija Saariaho, Unsuk Chin, and Sofia Gubaidulina, she argued that the “woman composer” no longer required special pleading or affirmative action. “Neither art nor artist is served by segregation—even if it’s well intended,” Kirsten wrote. Rather than going out of their way to boost female composers, she suggested, programmers should embrace only works that speak to them strongly, trusting that women will continue to advance.”

Read the full story by Alex Ross in the New Yorker.

Leave a Reply