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‘Venus Blazing’ celebrates Women Composers of the Past and the Future

‘Venus Blazing’ celebrates Women Composers of the Past and the Future

by Shruthi Venkatesh December 5 2018, 5:37 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 12 secs

The Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance announces its new Venus Blazing, an extraordinary commitment to the music of women composers throughout the next academic year. The title Venus Blazing is taken from the title of a violin concerto by composition professor Deirdre Gribbin, who also runs the Venus Blazing Charitable Trust. The challenge of this program is to discover and celebrate women composers of the past, and opening a path for women composers of the future.

Behind the screens of Trinity Lagon (

Harriet Harman, Chair of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, says, “Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance is strongly committed to diversity in all elements and it has a mission to constantly challenge the status quo. Venus Blazing is a great example of just how it can do this. This celebration will encourage and inspire its students – many of whom will go on to shape the future of the performing arts - to engage with the historic issue of gender imbalance in music by women, and ensure that it does not continue into the next generation. 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 in performance.”

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It is said that at least half of the programme contain music written by female composers of over 60 concerts and opera performances organized by Conservatoire’s major performing groups. The audiences get to hear renaissance madrigals, 1970s jazz, 19th-century symphonies and 20th-century string quartets and operas, yet they did not receive much attention as the person composed them was a woman.

Besides the on-stage performances, Trinity Laban is all set to start 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. Recent statistics revealed that only 2% of classical music programmes feature works written by women. Hence, it is of no good to wait for a couple of years to raise that 2%. We need initiatives such as ours, or Kings Place’s forthcoming Venus Unwrapped, RS Foundation’s Key Change and BBC Radio 3’s richly rewarding celebration of the women erased from musical history.

Dr Sophie Fuller, programme Leader of Trinity Laban’s Masters Programmes said, “It is widely recognised that music created by women – whatever the genre – is heard much less often than music created by men. In past centuries, it was difficult for women to find a meaningful musical education or get equal access to performance opportunities, but there have always been those who leapt over any obstacles placed in their way. 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.”

Women have been composing music all through the past years, but it will be left unnoticed when it’s rarely heard. There is indeed so much of music composed by women to be heard and celebrated. Trinity Laban is a platform to those who are getting involved with a dream of having an own favourite venue or musical organisation to make concerts of music and to destroy the historical gender imbalance in music so that it does not continue.

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