BBC Radio 3 launches new project to celebrate historic female composers

BBC Radio 3 launches new project to celebrate historic female composers

BBC Radio 3 is marking International Women’s Day with the announcement of a new recording project designed to celebrate five historic female composers.

The project, in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and administered by BBC Wales, aims to highlight the achievements of unjustly neglected female composers of the past, by recording previously unrecorded works with the BBC Orchestras and Choirs and the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists.

The newly-recorded works – some of which have been hidden in archives, libraries or private collections for decades – will be premiered on Radio 3 on International Women’s Day next year.

The composers were selected at a workshop last month by five academics who each put forward a composer for consideration by a Radio 3 panel. 

Dr Graham Griffiths presented Leokadiya Kashperova (1872–1940); Professor Jeremy Llewelyn chose Marianna Martines (1744–1813); Dr Shirley Thompson selected Florence B Price (1887–1953); Dr Anastasia Belina-Johnson proposed Augusta Holmès (1847–1903); and Carola Darwin presented Johanna Müller-Hermann (1868–1941).

The academics have now been invited to choose a previously unrecorded work by their composer for the BBC Orchestras and Choirs to record for broadcast. In some cases this will involve creating orchestral parts from an original manuscript for the first time. 

Edwina Wolstencroft, BBC Radio 3 editor and diversity lead, said: “Radio 3 is committed to broadcasting remarkable music and culture, and celebrating high quality work. We are therefore very excited to embark on this groundbreaking project to bring incredible works by female composers, forgotten for years, to the large modern-day audiences they deserve. It is a privilege to help celebrate the musical genius of these women in its own right.”

Sarah Burgess, portfolio manager for the AHRC’s creative arts and digital humanities, added: “The AHRC is excited to be working with the BBC on this important new project; it will provide a platform for academic research to present the remarkable history and music of these forgotten female composers for rediscovery by today's audiences.”

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