Rhinegold Photo credit: Juno Snowdon
Harriet Harman launches Venus Blazing at Trinity Laban

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Trinity Laban to spotlight women composers in concerts and online

10:50, 8th March 2018

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has announced that music by women will make up more than half of its concert programmes in 2018/19.

The conservatoire has announced Venus Blazing, a commitment to the music of women composers throughout the next academic year. Drawing on centuries of music past and present, across many genres, there will be a particular focus on 20th and 21st century British composers, including Trinity Laban students, alumni and staff.

Highlights of Venus Blazing include a new production of Thea Musgrave’s opera A Christmas Carol (December 2018), symphonies by Louise Farrenc and Grace Williams performed by the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra, and an exploration of the music of Trinity Laban alumna Avril Coleridge-Taylor. The season will feature music by current Trinity Laban composition students and staff, including Soosan Lolavar, Laura Jurd and Deirdre Gribbin, whose violin concerto Venus Blazing has given the initiative its name.

Trinity Laban will also launch an online database of works by female composers, and will expand its library resources, including scores, books and recordings. This will encourage and inspire students to discover works that they might not previously have been able to access, and will and ensure that Trinity Laban, as a modern conservatoire with a key role to play in shaping the next generation of music makers, addresses the historical gender imbalance in music so that it does not continue.

Venus Blazing is led by Dr Sophie Fuller, masters programme leader and author of The Pandora Guide to Women Composers: Britain and the United States, alongside Jonathan Tilbrook, conductor and head of orchestra studies.

‘It is widely recognised that music created by women – whatever the genre – is heard much less often than music created by men,’ said Dr Fuller. ‘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.’

Harriet Harman, chair of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, said of Venus Blazing: ‘I welcome this bold initiative to raise awareness of the disparity that has long existed in music and shine a light on music that has so frequently been overlooked. I am also greatly looking forward to hearing some of the musical treasures by women I might not otherwise have had the chance to hear.’


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