The recent announcement that the opera, Angel's Bone, composed by Du Yun had won her the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music is cause for the continuing celebration of women's musical accomplishments. My sincere congratulations go to Du Yun and past Pulitzer Prize winning women composers, Jennifer Higdon (2010), Caroline Shaw (2013), Julia Wolfe (2015), Shulamit Ran (1991), Melinda Wagner (1999) and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (1983). These composers' Pulitzer Prize winning compositions span the musical genres of Violin Concerto, Oratorio, Symphonies, Partita for 8 Voices, Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion and now an opera. Our assignment as supporters of women composers is to listen to their music, celebrate their works and educate, educate and educate continuously that women composers be heard without gender barriers.
Along with the Pulitzer Prize for Music announcement, there have been other articles recently written about and by women composers. Each article highlights their musical interests and life's journey to get where they have been and are.
The BBC published an article about Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) and her sister, Lili Boulanger (1893-1918). Nadia was known for her teaching and mentoring of some of the 20th century's greatest composers. Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Quincy Jones, Astor Piazzolla, Philip Glass, Igor Stravinsky and others benefited from her knowledge of theory, composition and her encouragement to find their own musical expression. She was the first woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic! Envious of her sibling, Lili, who also was a composer and the first woman ever to win the Prix de Rome competition, Nadia went on to promote her sister's music after her untimely death from intestinal tuberculosis at age 24. Two women composers, who left an indelible mark on an era, require us to read and know more about them.
New Music Box published an article by composer Emily Doolittle, who shared the emotional and physical challenges of composing and motherhood. Her honesty as well as her suggestions to the professional music world is insightful. Thank you, Emily, for sharing your experience of being a working mother composer.
Canadian composer, Carol Ann Weaver, was featured in an article on The CWC Project, Facebook page. She is quoted at the beginning of the article, "Music has always been within me. It's the magic, the breath, the liquid in life. It's why I'm here, and it's always been that way." Read about her life story filled with music and the explanation of her in-depth study and work before beginning a composition. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors at the Association of Canadian Women Composers.
Yes, I know that my blog is filled with entries about women composers and that I continuously promote their music. Bear with me because I shall continue to champion them, always! I want to feature women composers who are known and unknown to me, then share them with you, my readers.
Here are four women composers featured in various media outlets and publications. Their individual lives are bound together by their compositions. How lucky we are to be listening, experiencing and sharing their gift of music. Now, we stand up and work to promote all women composers, their lives and music.