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Celebration of historic women composers wins support from ABO Sirens scheme

Thu 28 Jun 2018

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has been awarded funding to celebrate works by historic women composers through a major concert and intergenerational creative music project.

Trinity Laban is one of four organisations to receive a share of the Association of British Orchestras’ £19,000 Sirens fund, which aims to raise awareness of women composers in orchestral programming.

The conservatoire will present a concert on 12 December 2019 including works by two close friends: Elizabeth Maconchy’s The Land – based on a poem by Vita Sackville-West – and Grace Williams’ Symphony no 2.

It will form the basis of an intergenerational creative music project exploring issues of place, literature, and gender. Trinity Laban’s Learning and Participation department will work with local schoolchildren plus a group from the “Inspired not Tired” older people’s programme.

The project will follow on from Venus Blazing, Trinity Laban’s year-long celebration of women composers past and present. Announced in March 2018, the conservatoire has pledged that at least 50 per cent of music selected for public performances throughout the 2018-19 academic year, including orchestral, opera and jazz concerts, will be by women composers. This concert in the 2019-20 season demonstrates Trinity Laban's continued commitment to women composers beyond the Venus Blazing year.

In 2016 the ABO Trust received a generous gift from Diana Ambache in 2016 to run Sirens. Four or five projects will be funded each year, including concerts, tours, recordings and education work deemed to be doing most to advance and promote the understanding of music by women.

Diana says –

“Frequently ignorance is the main issue around music by women. The essential thing is for people to hear their works. When these lovely pieces are heard, there is no more reason for omitting them. Roll on inclusion...”

The awards panel for 2018 comprised Diana Ambache, Helen Wallace, Kings Place, Edwina Wolstencroft, BBC Radio 3, Philip Cashian, composer, and Fiona Harvey, ABO. 

(Image credit: JK Photography)