Resources on women in classical music

Posted on March 12, 2012

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While working on the International Women’s Day posters for a settlement agency recently, I gathered some useful resources regarding women in classical music. Send me your finds, if you happen upon anything useful. This way when we say “way too few” and “outrageous disparity of power”, we have findings to back it all up.

From Zerbi, I got this interesting paper on blind auditions in the US orchestras and their effect on re-balancing the gender deficit. She also forwarded this goodie from College Music Symposium on impact of women conductors. It is accessible through JSTOR — any municipal library in any large North American city will have online access to JSTOR, just sign in with your card number. I hope UK libraries do this too.

I stumbled on a good article by Jessica Duchen published in The Independent on the glass ceiling for women conductors. Focus: UK and (to a lesser degree) international.

Charlotte Higgins wrote in the Guardian (2003) about women musicians in major-league symphony orchestras.

NPR Music did a nifty thing on women in symphony orchestras.

Canada-wise, it was very good to discover Ethel Stark, who formed an all-women symphony orchestra in Montreal way back when, which ended up being the first Canadian symphony orchestra ever to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Some other important women musicians’ firsts in Canada.

Here’s the often-quoted Hill Strategies A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada from 2004 (based on 2001 census), which for example shows that whereas 32% of Canadians working as conductors, composers, and arrangers are women, those women are earning only 68% of what male conductors, composers and arrangers earn. In a later similar Hill Strategies report based on the 2006 census, things are not improving.

Back to the US, here is A Quantitative Analysis of Women in Leadership Roles in Symphony Orchestra Organizations from 1998.

Karla Hartl, of the The Kapralova Society, sent me a number of useful leads:

Stats on women musicians in European and American Orchestras.

Stats on women teachers (composition) at European universities.

A very telling article on Age, Gender, and Orchestra.

The organizations like Association of Canadian Women Composers and academics like Prof. Ursula Rempel from the U of Manitoba who specializes in women in music.

This great resource page of a great association, the International Alliance for Women in Music.

Keep them coming.

Conductor Laurence Equilbey in the photo