The article below calls for "balance" in classical music programming. But how can there be a male/female "balance" when all the great composers are men? I am a Bach/Mozart man myself but all the other highly esteemed composers are men too. And they are highly esteemed because they are the composers whom most people enjoy listening to. People won't pay to listen to music unless they enjoy it.
If you go to a classical concert, the organizers almost always pop in a "modern" piece somewhere to "educate" you but they never make it the last piece on the program because they know that many in the audience would start walking out at that point if they did.... and "modern" music written by women is no different. Let them put it last on the program if they want to get in touch with reality. But they know the reality well enough.
Not all modern composers are hopeless but needles in the haystack like Philip Glass (another male) are both exceedingly rare and in no need of promoting. Glass's music speaks for itself and who cares what program it is on when you can buy it all on CD? Click here to hear some typically mesmeric Glass
In A remarkable gaffe, the BBC Proms season that opens tonight features not a single piece of music composed or conducted by a woman. For the first time in at least 20 years, men will have written and will direct all 270 pieces at the 73 evening concerts. The absence of women composers or conductors has caused consternation, even in the male-dominated world of classical music. "I'm hoping this is a statistical accident, to be handsomely corrected next year," said Judith Weir, a leading British composer whose operas have been staged at Covent Garden.
Defending the all-male line-up of composers and conductors this summer, Nicholas Kenyon, the controller of the BBC Proms, said: "We achieve balance over several seasons, not every season."
This gender imbalance also extends to the choice of instrumental soloists for the 112-year old concerts at the Albert Hall. There are twenty male pianists, but only two females. And overall, male instrumental soloists outnumber women by a ratio of five to one. "There are women writing brilliant and highly individual music," said Jude Kelly, the artistic director of the South Bank Centre in London. "Perhaps they won't need the Proms, but the Proms might need them."
"I would hate to be included in the Proms as a token woman," said Sally Beamish, a composer whose work is heavily featured in this year's Cheltenham Music Festival. "But young composers should see that composition is something that women do, and from that point of view [their omission] is a pity."
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