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Trinity Laban announces autumn season of ‘Venus Blazing’ concerts celebrating women composers

Wed 18 July 2018

25 of the 37 works programmed for autumn season are by female composers

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance today announced its performance programme for Autumn 2018, incorporating Venus Blazing – an unprecedented commitment to celebrating the music of women composers.

Trinity Laban has pledged to ensure that in its major performances – including orchestral concerts, operas, large ensemble, jazz and choral concerts – at least half of the music in the 2018-19 season will be by women composers.

Within the autumn season, 25 of the 37 works being performed (68%) are by female composers.

Highlights include:

  • Trinity Laban String Ensemble performing Errollyn Wallen, Grazyna Bacewicz and Elgar (St Alfege Church, 25 October, 1pm)
  • An 80th birthday concert for Timothy Reynish, in which he conducts the Trinity Laban Symphonic Winds in works by Thea Musgrave, Elizabeth Maconchy, Judith Bingham and Emily Howard (Blackheath Halls, 1 November, 7.30pm)
  • Louise Farrenc’s Symphony No.3 and Grace Williams Symphony No.2 in Trinity Laban’s celebrated “Side by Side” series, featuring the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra alongside some of the UK’s leading orchestral musicians
  • Vocal ensemble Rubythroat performing Kaija Saariaho, Sofia Gubaidulina and Trinity Laban student Mikey Parsons (St Alfege Church, 8 November, 1pm)
  • Trinity Laban Chamber Choir performing Imogen Holst, Elizabeth Maconchy and Lili Boulanger at St Bartholomew the Great (22 November) and Chelmsford Cathedral (23 November)
  • Dominic Peckham conducting the Trinity Laban Chorus, Musical Theatre Show Choir and Old Royal Naval College Chapel Choir in extracts from Rebecca Dale’s Mater Requiem plus pieces by Eleanor Daley, Meredith Monk and Judith Weir, alongside Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and excerpts from West Side Story (29 November, Blackheath Halls)
  • A brand new production of Thea Musgrave’s 1979 opera A Christmas Carol, based on the classic Dickens story, presented by Trinity Laban Opera (Blackheath Halls, 14 and 15 December)

Venus Blazing is spearheaded by two key members of Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music: Dr Sophie Fuller, Programme Leader of Trinity Laban’s Masters programmes and acclaimed author of The Pandora Guide to Women Composers: Britain and the United States, and conductor Jonathan Tilbrook, Head of Orchestral Studies.

Dr Sophie Fuller commented:

When we announced Venus Blazing in March this year, the reception was predictable. There was a lot of positivity and encouragement – a lot of people wondering why this sort of initiative hadn’t been done before. But there are still those who continue to insist that there are no great works created by women and that women’s music isn’t performed because it simply isn’t good enough.

“Our diverse programme for autumn, which spans countries, decades and genres, really proves otherwise. This is powerful, memorable, music performed by our brilliant students. It is music that is here to be heard and celebrated and, we hope, will help change people’s idea of what a popular concert programme should look like in the future.

Harriet Harman, Chair of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, said:

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance is strongly committed to diversity in all elements and it has a mission to constantly challenge the status quo. Venus Blazing is a great example of just how it can do this. It will encourage and inspire its students – many of whom will go on to shape the future of the performing arts – to engage with the historic issue of gender imbalance in music by women, and ensure that it does not continue into the next generation.

“I welcome this bold initiative to raise awareness of the disparity that has long existed in music and shine a light on music that has so frequently been overlooked. I am also greatly looking forward to hearing some of the musical treasures by women I might not otherwise have had the chance to hear in performance.”

All public Trinity Laban events will be listed on the Trinity Laban What’s On guide, which is updated throughout the year.

Concerts are free and open to all unless otherwise stated.

@TrinityLaban #VenusBlazing