Composeher World Premiere Concert Platforms New Choral Music by Women

Dylan MacdonaldComposeher, General News

GSA Choir Project Seeks to Address Significant Gender Imbalance in Commissioning of New Music

The ground-breaking Composeher project, devised by the Glasgow School of Art Choir, is in the final stages of rehearsal for a world premiere concert to be held on 27 May 2023 at Glasgow City Halls. The concert of new work has already garnered international interest and involvement, with demand for tickets, which are on sale now, expected to be high.

Composeher seeks to address recent research revealing the huge gender inequalities in the granting of music commissions. The Counting the Music Industry Research (2019) revealed that, of the 12,040 writers of music represented by UK publishers, just 14% were female.

As a practical response to this, the GSA Choir commissioned seven composers from Scotland, England the USA and Australia to compose choral works of around 10 minutes in length to create a unique event featuring choral music entirely by women. The participating composers are Dee Isaacs, Cecilia McDowall, Pippa Murphy, Sarah Rimkus, Ailie Robertson, Rebecca Rowe and Jane Stanley.

Commenting on Composeher, Jamie Sansbury, the GSA Choir Musical Director, said; “Since the choir was founded in 2012, we have sought to commission and champion new work. We love working with composers and sharing their work with our audience. When we realised how significant the gender imbalance was for women in the industry, we wanted to do our bit to address this.

“We could not have imagined at the outset just how amazing the Composeher project would be. The works that have been created are fantastic and explore a whole range of topics that we all care about from a passion for the natural world, to the impact of war and loss. This will be an evening with rich rewards for our audience. We want to make this an evening of celebration and the ensemble is truly excited to be bringing these works to life.”

The GSA Choir raised the necessary funds to commission the work in 2019 with the aim of performing the new pieces in 2021. While the pandemic has delayed the project by two years, the concert will now take place in May this year, with the choir aiming to sell out Glasgow City Halls to share this wonderful new music with as many people as possible.

The project has already been hailed by Dr Anna Beer, cultural historian and the author of Sounds and Sweet Airs, as a “triumphant counterblast to that great forgetting – creating

not just a community, but a platform for music created by women, here and now, and for the future.”

Jamie added “We are thrilled that Anna will not only attend the concert but will also host a pre-performance panel session with some of the composers. This will be free for all ticket holders and take place at the City Halls at 18.30. Everyone in the GSA Choir wants to extend their thanks to the composers for creating such wonderful work for us to perform. This is by far our biggest and most challenging project, and we are loving every moment of it!”

The Composeher project has been delivered with support from Creative Scotland, the GSA, Glasgow Women’s Library, Graven and Spreng Thomson.

Tickets for the world premiere Composeher concert are on sale now at:

Links to more information about Composeher and the GSA Choir.

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