Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Festival Prelude/Festival March - Part II


Posted on The Gena Branscombe Project Facebook page on May 9, 2022 was the following:

Tuesday, May 3rd at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Gena Branscombe’s 1913 composition “Festival Prelude/March” was given its 21st century premiere.  The Gena Branscombe Project 2020 conductor scholarship winner, Damali Willingham, not only conducted the performance but also arranged this orchestral piece for wind ensemble. 

Willingham poured musical talents into the arrangement creating a score filled with lush textures, delicacy of melody and rhythmic drive.  Damali conducted the piece with authority knowing every note and phrase then drew it together with her ensemble to make heartfelt music.  The Gena Branscombe Project thanks Damali and professor, Dr. Dominick Ferrara, for your dedication to this beautiful piece of music. 

Now to get this piece published!


The concert was indeed wonderful.  The Gena Branscombe Project sponsored a post-concert reception as a thank you to Damali, Dr. Ferrara and the members of the wind ensemble.  We are making one more step forward promoting the performance of Gena Branscombe’s music. 


Sunday, May 1, 2022

Ladies Speak

Trying to define what promoting a woman composer or women composers is in one’s life can be perplexing.  Is it a job?  Is it detective work uncovering or digging up something from the past?  Is it a mission?  Is it a passion?  Is it fun or a hobby? Maybe it is a combination of all of these.  We have wrapped ourselves in a blanket of passion that fills our lives as a job whose title is being a mission driven detective while having a delightful time learning something new and something not taught in those college music history classes!  

We eagerly pursue new ways and avenues to promote women composers through blogs, presentations, published articles, performances, recordings, interviews, social media and podcasts.  We work to get out the message that women have existed as composers as long as men have – always!

I would consider my many years of work on the music and life of composer Gena Branscombe as an absolute passionate joy of a job! Over the years the number of people who have crossed my path encouraging my work is astounding.

 Recently I was contacted by Matt Spangler who has produced the new podcast “Ladies Speak.”   

Their first episode features the music and life of Margaret Ruthven Lang. This 40 minute podcast takes us through the life and music of this wonderful Boston born composer.  Music historians and performers recount the composer’s works analyzing, performing and comparing them to other composers of her era. This is a woman composer who presented her music to Antonin Dvorak while he visited her home.  While in Germany she went to the home of Franz Liszt.  We learn that at the age of 50 she stopped composing as she had said all that she had within her.  In 1972 Margaret Lang died at the age of 104.  There is much more in the podcast.  I highly recommend spending 40 minutes to learn about a brilliant composer whose name is Margaret Ruthven Lang.

And, yes, Matt Spangler and I will be discussing Gena Branscombe sometime in the near future.  In the meantime, listen to the first podcast of “Ladies Speak!”