Radio 3 puts the spotlight on female composers for International Women's Day 2015

BBC Radio 3 is to mark International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March, championing the talents and creativity of women who have written music throughout the centuries.

Published: 28 January 2015
The station will be championing the next generation of female talent as well as analysing the contribution of some of the great women of classical music - like Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann - who often worked in the shadow of their male counterparts.
— Helen Boaden, Director, BBC Radio

From Hildegard of Bingen to the wide range and greater numbers of women writing today, a selection of live concert broadcasts, new commissions and debate on Sunday 8 March and across two weeks of complementary programming will focus on the life, work and legacy of female composers throughout history.

A day of programming entirely dedicated to music written and chosen by women, International Women’s Day (Sunday 8 March) kicks off with Geoffrey Smith's Jazz (0000-0100) presenting a portrait of American jazz singer, composer, pianist and actress Carmen McRae and Through The Night (0100-0600) broadcasts music exclusively written by female composers. There will be special editions of Breakfast (0700-0900) presented by Clemency Burton-Hill and Sunday Morning (0900-1100) with Rob Cowan and Sarah Walker before Suzy Klein presents a concert of music by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann and English composer and violist Rebecca Clarke live from the BBC Radio Theatre (1100-1300) with performances from Radio 3 New Generation Artists Lise Berthaud (viola) and Kitty Whatley (mezzo soprano).

Anna Meredith offers listeners an insight into her musical world in a special broadcast of Private Passions (1300-1400), choosing works that have inspired her life and career as one of today’s leading female composers, and The Early Music Show (1400-1500) will explore the life and work of Italian Baroque singer and composer Barbara Strozzi.

Other highlights include a live edition of The Choir (1600-1730) with a performance of a new commission by young composer Rhiannon Randle by the choir of St Catharine’s College Cambridge and in a special Sunday Feature, From Convent To Concert Hall, Dr Kate Kennedy tells the story of four string players who were pioneers in different eras, from the 18th to the 20th century, with contributions from violinist Margaret Faultless and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.

In the evening, Katie Derham presents a Live in Concert (1930-2200) from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff in an all-female programme of music by Augusta Holmes, Lili Boulanger, Germaine Tailleferre, Cecile Chaminade and Mel Bonis, conducted by Jessica Cottis. International Women’s Day ends with a Drama On 3 (2200) broadcast premiere of Sophocles’ Electra starring Dame Kristin Scott Thomas.

Throughout the day, big names from across the music world, including conductors Odaline de la Martinez, Edward Gardner and Harry Christophers, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and performer of the songs and smallpipes of Northumberland, Kathryn Tickell, will also share their choices of music by women composers they admire. Radio 3 also broadcasts the world premiere recordings of a new collection of Piano Miniatures written by a selection of female composers performed by British pianist Grace Francis. Four of the pieces, composed by Kristine Arakelyan, Melissa Douglas, Lucy Pankhurst and Anna Appleby - and specially commissioned for Radio 3’s International Women’s Day - will be broadcast throughout the day.

As part of two weeks of complementary programming, in the lead up to International Women’s Day, CD Review (Saturday 7 March, 0900-1215) will be Building a Library on the Clara Schumann Piano Trio with pianist and broadcaster David Owen Norris, and Sara Mohr Pietsch presents a package within Music Matters (Saturday 7 March, 1215-1300) examining how the world has changed for women writing music across the centuries, and why there are still fewer women composers than men both on publishers’ books and being performed in major concert halls and festivals.

In the week preceding, the Essential Classics artist of the week is British conductor Jane Glover, and author of the internationally bestselling book Fear Of Flying, Erica Jong, discusses her favourite music (Monday 2 March – Friday 6 March, 0900-1200) and Composer Of The Week puts the spotlight on the life and work of French harpsichordist and composer Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre whose Céphale et Procris was the first opera written by a women ever to be performed in France (Monday 2 March – Friday 6 March, 1200-1300).

A selection of savants and salonnières who have influenced musical life from behind the scenes throughout history including Nadezhda von Meck, Mary Gladstone and Elsa Bienenfeld will be put under the spotlight by a panel of experts in a special edition of The Essay Classical Music’s Unsung Heroines (Monday 2 March – Friday 6 March, 2245-2300), and each day in the week following International Women’s Day, five female composers under the age of 35 - Charlotte Bray, Anna Clyne, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Hannah Kendall and Dobrinka Tabakova - will be interviewed by Donald Macleod for Composer of the Week, discussing life as a female composer today (Monday 9 March – Friday 13 March, 1200-1300).

Helen Boaden, Director of BBC Radio says: "I'm delighted Radio 3 is celebrating female composers with a range of programmes dedicated to classical music written and chosen by women. The station will be championing the next generation of female talent as well as analysing the contribution of some of the great women of classical music - like Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann - who often worked in the shadow of their male counterparts."

VT2 

BBC Radio 3 International Women’s Day programming

Monday 2 March – Friday 6 March

Essential Classics (Monday-Friday, 0900-1200)

British conductor Jane Glover is artist of the week and author Erica Jong discusses her favourite music

Composer of the Week (Monday-Friday, 1200-1300)

Donald Macleod discusses the life and work of French harpsichordist and composer Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

The Essay: Classical Music’s Unsung Heroines (Monday-Friday, 2245-2300)

A panel of experts discuss savants and salonnières who have influenced musical life from behind the scenes throughout history including Nadezhda von Meck, Mary Gladstone and Elsa Bienenfeld

Saturday 7 March

CD Review (0900-1215)

Andrew McGregor will be Building a Library on the Clara Schumann Piano Trio with pianist and broadcaster David Owen Norris

Music Matters (1215-1300)

Sara Mohr Pietsch presents a package examining how the world has changed for women writing music across the centuries

Sunday 8 March – International Women’s Day

Geoffrey Smith's Jazz (0000-0100)

Geoffrey Smith presents a portrait of American jazz singer, composer, pianist and actress Carmen McRae

Through the Night (0100-0700)

Through the Night broadcasts music exclusively written by female composers

Breakfast (0700-0900)

A special edition presented by Clemency Burton-Hill

Sunday Morning (0900-1100)

A special edition presented by Rob Cowan and Sarah Walker

Live Concert from the BBC Radio Theatre (1100-1300)

Suzy Klein presents a concert of music by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann and English composer and violist Rebecca Clarke live from the BBC Radio Theatre (1100-1300) with performances from Radio 3 New Generation Artists Lise Berthaud (viola) and Kitty Whatley (mezzo soprano)

Private Passions (1300-1400)

Michael Berkeley talks to composer Anna Meredith

The Early Music Show (1400-1500)

Lucie Skeaping explores the life and work of Italian Baroque singer and composer Barbara Strozzi

Choral Evensong (1500-1600)

A service from King’s College Cambridge with music composed by female composers

The Choir (1600-1700)

A live edition of with a performance of a new commission by young composer Rhiannon Randle by St Catherine’s Choir

Sunday Feature: From Convent to Concert Hall (1845-1930)

Dr Kate Kennedy tells the story of four string players who were pioneers in different eras, from the 18th to the 20th century with contributions from violinist Margaret Faultless and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber

Radio 3 Live in Concert (1930-2200)

Augusta Holmes: Andromede

Boulanger: D’un matin de Printemps

Tailleferre: Concerto for Two Pianos, Mixed Chorus, Saxophones and Orchestra

Chaminade: Konzertstucke

Mélanie Bonis: Trois Femmes de Legende

Katie Derham presenter

Noriko Ogawa piano

Pascal & Ami Roge piano duet

BBC National Chorus of Wales

BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Jessica Cottis conductor

Drama on 3 (2200)

Broadcast premiere of Sophocles’ Electra starring Dame Kristin Scott Thomas

Monday 9 March – Friday 13 March

Composer of the Week (Monday-Friday, 1200-1300)

Donald Macleod interviews five female composers under the age of 35 - Charlotte Bray, Anna Clyne, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Hannah Kendall and Dobrinka Tabakova

Related Blogs