Judith Weir’s U.K. appointment could be “vital step” for female composers

Posted on: July 1, 2014

In Monday’s (6/30) Guardian (London), Jessica Duchen writes that composer Judith Weir’s appointment as Master of the Queen’s Music is a “vital step for young women composers…. Weir, 60, will be the first woman ever appointed to this role, which has existed for nearly 400 years.… Weir … is one of Britain’s most distinguished composers…. Her new role is one that has evolved to become the musical equivalent of the Poet Laureate.… Few composers of lasting renown held the job for its first 300 years. It was only in the 20th century that the post began to be awarded to those with a higher public profile—notably Elgar, Arnold Bax and Arthur Bliss. As media influence grew, so did opportunities for this official composer to use the increase in clout as a platform to speak up on behalf of classical music in general—something that the outgoing holder, Peter Maxwell Davies, has done many times in the past decade.… Weir becomes a necessary figurehead: visible, high-profile proof that women not only can compose, but can rise to hold the same title as Elgar himself. This is a vital step that can help to encourage a new crop of aspiring composers.”

Posted July 1, 2014