Opinion: in Ireland, progress toward gender parity for women composers

Posted on: February 19, 2019

“In October 2015 news of Waking the Nation, the Abbey Theatre’s 2016 season, begat Waking the Feminists,” writes Michael Dervan in Wednesday’s (2/13) Irish Times (Dublin). “The issue was the paltry representation of women…. In music … the… festival Composing the Island also came under fire for gender imbalance. Waking the Feminists … morphed into Sounding the Feminists [which] begat the National Concert Hall’s current, bluntly-titled Female Composer Series. So what has changed over the last three years? Well, awareness of the issue, for sure…. I trawled through the information … for events from January 1st to February 14th for each of those two years. Over those 45 days in 2016 the concert listings yielded just eight pieces by women…. Three years on, the list has more than doubled [but] if you remove the two NCH Female Composer Series program from the 2019 total, you still have just eight pieces by women.… By having a gender policy at all, the NCH is ahead of most of the Arts Council’s major music and opera clients…. The best example … is the long list of festivals which have pledged to reach gender balance in new commissions by 2022, the best known being the BBC Proms.”

Posted February 19, 2019