I saw this on my FB feed and ignored it:
“There’s a good reason why there are no great female composers.”
I have a policy against following any obvious click-bait. This is clearly designed to be divisive and controversial, and is therefore not intended to provide real information. So, as I said, I ignored it.
Then I read a thoughtful response to it at New Music Box, thanks to a friend of mine getting tagged in a FB post about it. The most actionable point there is that the controversy surrounding the idea of women composers (and conductors, for that matter) is information that this is a subject people are interested in, which means it’s something we can use to bring in audiences.
The way the Boston Symphony used a picture of Barabara Hannigan conducting to publicize a concert in which she was singing was disingenuous at best, but possibly worse: insultingly misleading. But done with sincerity, programming music by women composers and hiring women conductors can act as publicity candy. But it can also work as sincere promotion of women in music that will truly (eventually) help bring women into a position of equality. Then we’re not controversial publicity candy anymore, just more excellent musicians with equal opportunity to contribute to the conversation.
On a related note, the IndieGogo campaign for the 2016 Women Composers Festival of Hartford opened today. Yeah, I narrated the video. I hope you’ll consider contributing a few dollars as a gesture of support for the sincere efforts to give women an equal voice in the music industry. Or just share the link (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/2016-women-composers-festival-of-hartford/x/9837751#/) to help spread the word that women composers aren’t just an inexplicable historical anomaly, but a valuable resource for great repertoire worth supporting.