Ground-breaking choir project addresses significant gender imbalance for women in music industry

Ground-breaking project addresses significant gender imbalance for women in music industry

Declan BarbourComposeher

Poet Jackie Kay, Scotland’s former Makar, will be attending the Composeher world premiere to hear, for the first time, Scottish composer Ailie Robertson’s beautiful piece set to Jackie’s moving poem Margaret’s Moon.

The performance forms part of Composeher, a ground-breaking project, devised by the Glasgow School of Art Choir, that 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 composers are Dee Isaacs, Cecilia McDowall, Pippa Murphy, Sarah Rimkus, Ailie Robertson, Rebecca Rowe and Jane Stanley.

Most of the composers will attend the concert along with some of the lyricists involved including Scottish songwriter, folk singer, and storyteller Karine Polwart who collaborated with composer Pippa Murphy on her wonderful composition, Brìdghe.

Commenting on Composeher, Jamie Sansbury, the GSA Choir Musical Director, said; “When we realised how significant the gender imbalance was for women in the industry, we wanted to do our bit to address this.

“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. We want to make this an evening of celebration and the choir is truly excited to be bringing these works to life to an almost sold out venue.”

The project has already been hailed by Dr Anna Beer, cultural historian and the author of Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music  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 most of the composers. This will be free for all ticket holders and take place at the City Halls at 18.30.”

The Composeher project has been delivered with support from:

Creative Scotland

The Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow Women’s Library


Spreng Thomson.

The few remaining tickets are on sale at:

Composeher Tickets

Links to more information here:


GSA Choir

For further information please contact:

Lesley Thomson

Spreng Thomson

[email protected]

07850 933165

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