Conservatoire commits to female composers

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has announced that music by female composers will make up at least 50% of its concert programmes in the 2018-19 academic year. The conservatoire is also launching an online database of female composers to ensure students have access to their music.

Trinity Laban’s performance programme consists of over 60 concerts and operas given by its 12 large-scale student ensembles. The project has been titled ‘Venus Blazing’ after a piece by Deirdre Gribbin, a composer on staff at the conservatoire, and was launched on 8 March by MP Harriet Harman.

“It is widely recognised that music created by women – whatever the genre – is heard much less often than music created by men,” commented Dr Sophie Fuller, leader of Trinity Laban’s master’s programmes and co-organiser of Venus Blazing. “In past centuries, it was difficult for women to find a meaningful musical education or get equal access to performance opportunities, but there have always been those who leapt over any obstacles placed in their way.

“We at Trinity Laban want our students and their audiences to hear their often powerful work. It is our duty to celebrate women’s music, not just for one year, but to provide the structures, support and encouragement to ensure that this is a lasting legacy for all future musicians and music lovers.”

Highlights include a performance of the aforementioned Venus Blazing; a new production of Thea Musgrave’s opera A Christmas Carol; symphonies by Grace Williams and Louise Farrenc performed by the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra; and other compositions from staff and alumni such as Soosan Lolavar and Laura Jurd. Full details and further concerts will be announced later in the year.

As for Trinity Laban’s database, it will provide access to scores by female composers that might otherwise be hard to obtain. The conservatoire will also expand its range of books, scores and recordings relating to female composers.