NY Philharmonic’s Project 19 marks women’s suffrage centennial with 19 world premieres

Posted on: February 10, 2020

Above, eleven of the nineteen composers whose works will be given world premieres as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Project 19 commissioning initiative, with New York Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda (far right in photo). From left: Jessie Montgomery, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Joan Tower, Angélica Negrón, Joan La Barbara, Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Tania León, Ellen Reid, Caroline Mallonee, and Paola Prestini. Photo by Chris Lee

“Nina C. Young recalled a visit by her mother in September when a brochure from the New York Philharmonic arrived in the mail. ‘Oh it’s you! Next to Haydn and Mozart,’ ” writes Elizabeth Yuan in Thursday’s (2/6) Wall Street Journal (subscription required). “She is among 19 composers whose works will have their world premieres as part of the Philharmonic’s Project 19, billed as the largest women-only commissioning initiative, in celebration of the centennial of women’s suffrage. Ms. Young’s ‘Tread softly,’ which references a W.B. Yeats poem and thwarted dreams, on Wednesday kicked off the first of six this month. Two more world premieres will follow in May and June, with the other 11 in coming seasons. The commissions come during an orchestral season when performances of works by Beethoven alone, the 250th anniversary of his birth notwithstanding, will exceed those by women composers, according to an analysis of 120 U.S. orchestras by the Institute for Composer Diversity…. Progress in programming women composers has chiefly been through new music. ‘Commissions are spreading the work of women composers to … different-sized orchestras,’ said Rachelle Schlosser, director of media relations and communications at the League of American Orchestras.”