Juilliard School’s Focus Festival to spotlight 32 female composers of the 20th century

Posted on: January 21, 2020

“The Juilliard School has [an] anniversary in mind for its upcoming Focus Festival: the centennial of the 19th Amendment,” writes Joshua Barone in Friday’s (1/17) New York Times. “To commemorate the hard-fought moment when women could vote in the United States, the Focus Festival—‘Trailblazers: Pioneering Women Composers of the 20th Century’—will present six free concerts, Jan. 24-31, in a globe-trotting program that features 32 composers from five continents…. Joel Sachs, Focus’s founder and longtime director, enlisted the Cuban-American composer and conductor Odaline de la Martinez to help assemble the program. Their work has been, to some degree, investigative: correcting mistakes in outdated or obscure published scores, and unearthing pieces that haven’t been heard for decades. ‘A lot of these composers have disappeared because people don’t know what to look for,’ Ms. de la Martinez said in an interview with Mr. Sachs. ‘And musicology used to teach only men. It’s about time to make cases for other composers, and women.’ ” The article includes discussion and music clips of ten of the composers to be featured at the festival: Florence Price, Ursula Mamlok, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Ethel Smyth, Sofia Gubaidulina, Thea Musgrave, Lee Young-ja, Myriam Marbe, Grazyna Bacewicz, Galina Ustvolskaya.