Eternal feminine or eternal spin?
In May 2006 I ran a post lamenting the absence of women composers at that year's BBC Proms season. In those days there were very few people highlighting the gender imbalance in classical music, and that post is just one of many on the theme that have appeared On An Overgrown Path. In recent years a number of rather more influential people have, thankfully, spoken out about the under-representation of women in classical music. Depite their efforts the problem remains and continues to require urgent attention. Which does not stop me feeling distinctly uncomfortable about the artistic director of London's Southbank Centre Jude Kelly using the paucity of women in orchestras as a way to spin the launch of a rather underwhelming new Southbank season as seen above. Of course it is good that Marin Alsop, Lisa Batiashvili, Martha Argerich and Mitsuko Uchida are performing and that there is music by Stevie Wishart and Anna Clyne. But Marin Alsop conducting the London Philharmonic in an all Beethoven programme is not exactly a game changer, and isn't it time the Southbank Centre and elsewhere started widening the view by showcasing the huge amount of fine music by women composers who are, sadly, no longer with us? For further confirmation that activism and spin do not mix well read this topical story.
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