Where are the women in music? – PRS for Music Foundation announces the first 13 recipients of Women Make Music – a unique funding opportunity raising the profile of female music creators across the UK.
In 2010, women made up only 14% of the writer membership of PRS for Music (the Performing Rights Society of composers, songwriters and music publishers) and, at the 2010 BBC Proms, women wrote just 4.1% of the music performed.
In response to these statistics which prove that women are still under represented publicly when it comes to making music, PRS for Music Foundation launched Women Make Music – a funding opportunity aimed exclusively at women who are making outstanding music in the UK. With this fund, PRS for Music Foundation is highlighting the gender gap in the music industry and encouraging exciting collaborations between organisations and creators who have not previously worked together.
Today (August 12 2011) PRS for Music Foundation announce the 13 women supported through the first round of Women Make Music. The strong and imaginative new music they are creating ranges from a song cycle based on Portuguese poetry, a new piece of music for ten choirs and a composition for outdoor circus performances, to an electro- acoustic composition for theatre, a month-long musical installation compromising of weekly performances and the design of a new synthesiser. The new music funded through Women Make Music will receive premieres in locations across the UK including Glasgow, Jersey, London, Newcastle and Sheffield, and some will tour as far afield as the USA, Middle East and Europe.
Launched on International Women’s Day 2011, Women Make Music saw an overwhelming number of women apply for the first round of funding – an exciting response and a positive sign says Chair of PRS for Music Foundation, Sally Taylor:
“We’re delighted that so many women came forward for our support and that, through this fund, we have reached a large number of talented music creators who have never applied to the Foundation before. The quality of the applications we received was very high and the breadth and imagination of the 13 successful projects proves that throughout the UK, women are making great music. By raising their profile, we hope that more women will develop the confidence to make a career of writing music and that this kind of fund won’t be needed in the future.”
Prominent female musicians and writers have supported the Foundation’s call for more female music creators, including Imogen Heap, who said: “I know they’re out there [female music creators]. I’ve met and heard of a few, but would love to know more and hear more as we’re only hearing one side of the story.”
Encouraging new and adventurous music and collaborations, the second round of recipients of funding through Women Make Music will be announced in October.
For further details, please visit: www.prsformusicfoundation.com/women
The music creators and commissioning organisations chosen for the first round of funding from Women Make Music are:
Charlotte Bray commissioned by Oxford Lieder Festival.
Oxford Lieder’s mission to celebrate the art of song and singing offers a winning combination with composer Charlotte Bray’s new commission of song cycle for baritone and piano. With a compositional voice both striking and original, Charlotte’s talents will be showcased by Roderick Williams and pianist Andrew West performing a song cycle set to Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. The festival promises 57 musical sessions over sixteen days, attract some 4,000 visitors.
Premiere: 27th October 2011 at Oxford Lieder Festival.
YolanDa Brown, ‘Blue Sky’.
Writer and performer YolanDa is passionate about storytelling through music, and having already established herself as a frontrunner in saxophone performance and winning two MOBO awards, she will develop her vocal and piano skills which she will incorporate into a new work titled ‘Blue Sky’. This will be performed live at the Jazz Café, Camden in December accompanied by an eight-piece band.
Premiere: 2nd December 2011 at London’s Jazz Café.
Tara Busch, ‘Artificial Intelligence: A Science Fiction Symphony’ – commissioned by Sensoria
Sensoria and Tara Busch are due to present an innovative, inspirational new music performance called Artificial Intelligence: A Science Fiction Symphony. Tara will design and build her own synthesiser to use during the performance. Tara stated, “This project is an incredible opportunity to challenge myself not only as an artist and performer, but also as a technician. It is my hope that by creating the Science Fiction Symphony, it will encourage other female artists to integrate and embrace technology in their work”. The premiere performance will take place in a Sheffield art gallery during the Sensoria music and film festival in April.
Premiere: (tbc) 22nd April 2012, Sheffield.
Helen Chadwick, Karen Wimhurst, Sinead Jones, Katherine Zeserson, ‘A Candle – Song Cycle for Choir and Trio’ – commissioned by Big Sky.
This innovative choral project – directed by Sian Croose – is a collaboration between four remarkable female composers, each setting works by international poets on the theme of freedom as part of Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary. It involves ten choirs, of which 80% of the membership is female and nine are directed by women. As with ‘A Candle – Song Cycle for Choir and Trio’, Big Sky has a history of commissioning new music and has previously worked with the four women involved. The choirs from around the UK will each stage their own performance of the work between October 2011 and May 2012. The songs will then be published in order to make them available to other choirs and it is hoped there will be both a final performance with singers drawn from all the participating choirs, and the creation of a commissioning network that can go on to create new choral pieces in the future.
Premiere: October 22nd 2011
Composer and choir director Deborah Coughlin is showcasing a female-centric full- length performance, building on her work of forming and directing the all female alt- choir Gaggle, reworking the now defunct Women’s Institute opera ‘The Brilliant & the Dark’ and putting the finishing touches to the forthcoming Gaggle Album. Gaggle has already made a huge impact on the tradition of choirs, gaining mass attention for Deborah’s radical take on choral music. A two-week residency and exhibition will be taking place in March 2012.
Premiere: (tbc) March 2012
Jessica Dannheisser, ‘The Tempest’ – commissioned by Jericho House Productions.
Using a four piece ensemble playing a mixture of period and modern instruments, alongside a cast of eight, Dannheisser’s new work, commissioned by cutting edge theatre group Jericho House, is a unique score for a theatre production of ‘The Tempest’. The production will tour the Middle East before being performed as part of Barbican BITE11 for a five-week run in London.
UK Premiere: 23rd September 2011 (previews 21st and 22nd September) at Barbican, London.
Bela Emerson, ‘Falling Up’ – commissioned by Mimbre
‘Falling Up’ is a soundtrack created by Bela Emerson for an outdoor circus theatre performance created by Mimbre. Composed in an exciting and highly collaborative process, it focuses on finding common points between the experiences of a female composer and female acrobats. It will be composed using cello with live processing and electronics, flute, tenor, guitar, vibraphone and percussion. A recorded soundtrack will allow for touring after the
UK premieres at various locations around the UK and Europe.
Premiere: (tbc) April 2012
Shiva Feshareki commissioned by Piano Circus.
Composer Shiva Feshareki presents her new work Jack of All Trades, a confrontational and theatrical piece, for acoustic pianos, keyboards and kaoss pads to create a unique electro-acoustic sound. The composition incorporates both scored and improvised material for the players. The UK premiere will take place at Glasgow Concert Halls, followed by the US debut in 2012.
Premiere: 11th November 2011 at Tramway Theatre, Glasgow, 8pm.
Bridget Hayden, ‘Strong Horses’
Bridget’s piece ‘Strong Horses’ is a collection of six new pieces including guitar, vocals, and an analogue looping device. Her aim is to transform the face of live performance by developing real time layering techniques that are responsive to a live environment. After the launch of her first official solo album and a tour of Scandinavia and Europe, Bridget is keen to transpose what she has developed whilst recording and mixing into the live arena.
Premiere: (tbc) 2nd March 2012 at the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle.
Emily Portman, ‘Hatchling’.
Solo performer Emily Portman is renowned as a singer, writer and concertina player with an emphasis on folk music and balladry. With a passionate involvement in historical and contemporary female narratives and their various transformations within folk tales, the new work, entitled ‘Hatchling’ will encompass tales of transgressive female characters who overturn established orders and escape their marginal confinement through their wit, trickery and ‘conjuring voices’. The work is due to be performed first at The Sage Gateshead and later at King’s Place, London.
Premiere: 28th November 2011 at The Sage Gateshead.
Serafina Steer and Sam Steer, ‘This Side of the Moon’ – commissioned by Branchage Film Festival.
Branchage’s commission sees Harpist and songwriter Serafina Steer and animator Sam Steer joining forces for a performance entitled ‘This Side of the Moon’, inspired by Kenneth Anger’s ‘Rabbit’s Moon’ (1950). Serafina Steer (Stolen Recordings), will use the new sound of a ‘psychedelic harp’ to create a live soundtrack to the performance. Anger’s highly original film features mainly ‘doo-wop’ pop juxtaposed against surreal, classical mime. In their bizarre and astounding new animation, the Steer sister and brother team have re-interpreted the archetypes of Commedia Dell’Arte once more. The premiere performance will take place in Jersey as a key headline event of the Branchage Film Festival, taking place at the 1881 Ebenezer Church in rural Trinity, and will be followed by a London performance later in 2011.
Premiere: 23rd September 2011 at the Branchage Film Festival.
Susan Stenger, ‘Full Circle’ – commissioned by AV Festival
This will be the first major UK solo work by Susan Stenger. ‘Full Circle’ is a six-hour solo composition for woodwind, brass, strings and voice created for weekly live performance within a month-long installation. It overlays Western music structures with Chinese philosophy and lunar cycles, and marks the birth and death of John Cage and his introduction of the I Ching for compositional strategies. The debut performance will take place in the context of the AV Festival 2012, in a unique outdoor circular space.
Premiere: 2nd March 2012
Jennifer Walshe commissioned by Third Ear Music
In collaboration with Third Ear Music, Jennifer Walshe will create a new piece for PANDAMONIUM 2, a special event and catwalk type performance curated by Artwise Curators marking the 50th anniversary of the World Wildlife Fund, the world’s leading conservation organization. The piece will draw on one of three ‘featured themes’ for WWF’s celebration: forest, water of snow/ice, and reference a particular aspect of WWFs work: conservation, climate change or sustainability. Crossing boundaries between music, visual art, film and fashion, the work will feature in PANDAMONIUM 2 as part of London Fashion Week.
Premiere: February 2012, London Fashion Week.
Notes to Editors:
(1) BBC Proms statistics from UK Feminista: http://www.ukfeminista.org.uk/news/592-womeninarts.html
The funding awarded by PRS for Music Foundation for Women Make Music will be used to support the costs associated with writing the new music and can also be used to support the music’s first performance.
PRS for Music Foundation is the UK’s leading funder of new music across all genres. Since 2000 the Foundation has awarded over £14 million to more than 4,000 new music projects. Widely respected as an adventurous and proactive funding body, PRS for Music Foundation supports an exceptional range of new music activity by awarding grants and leading partnership programmes that support the development of new music in the UK.
(Written on August 12, 2011 )