ROCHESTER, NY ― The music of female composers ― prominent, emerging, and even obscure ― takes center stage later this month as the Eastman School of Music presents a weeklong festival celebrating women in music.
The School’s first-ever Women in Music Festival, presented with support from the music publisher Universal Edition, runs March 21-25. It will feature Eastman students and faculty (both male and female) performing a series of daily lunchtime concerts throughout the week from noon-1 p.m. in the Main Hall of the School (26 Gibbs St.) or in the Atrium of Miller Center (27 Gibbs St., formerly Eastman Place). All concerts are free and open to the public.
“This new Festival is a celebration of women involved in all aspects of music ― including composition, performance, and scholarship,” said Sylvie Beaudette, assistant professor of chamber music at Eastman who is coordinating the festival with Eastman graduate student and pianist Sophia Ahmad. “There is an amazing body of musical works by women that are rarely performed or talked about. Our goal is to showcase some of these.”
Works by such noted composers as Clara Schumann, Joan Tower, Amy Beach, and Libby Larsen will be performed during the festival, as will the work of Roxanna Panufnik ― the festival’s featured composer ― whose compositions include opera, ballet, music theatre, choral works, chamber music, and music for film and television that has been performed all over the world. In addition, new music from female student composers at Eastman also will be highlighted.
Each daily concert is built around a specific theme, featuring a collection of mostly short (3-10 minute) musical works performed by Eastman students, ensembles, and faculty. Each selection will be introduced by the reading of a female poet’s work. In addition to Beaudette, other faculty artists involved are Tony Caramia (piano), Christel Thielman (viola de gamba), Susan Conkling (leading the Eastman Women’s Choir), and Ruth Cahn (conducting the Eastman Percussion Ensemble, which provides the opening performance of the festival). The daily themes are as follows, and a complete schedule of works and performers is available online at www.rochester.edu/Eastman/wmf
- Mon., March 21 “Poetic Women” Eastman’s Main Hall
- Tues., March 22 “Dramatic Women” Miller Center Atrium
- Wed., March 23 “The Music of Roxanna Panufnik” Eastman’s Main Hall
- Thurs., March 24 “When Yesterday Meets Today” Eastman’s Main Hall
- Fri., March 25 “Worldly Women” Miller Center Atrium & Schmitt Hall
In addition, the Sibley Music Library will mount a special exhibit during the festival that highlights achievements of women in music. It will include archival documents from its stellar Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections.
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Note to editors: Sylvie Beaudette and others involved in the festival are available for interviews.