“American orchestras have taken some steps to represent women composers, but … there is still a long way to go,” writes Hannah Schiller on Monday (5/13) at Chicago radio station WFMT. “So says a newly-released study by Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy [analyzing] the subscription series of 2019-20 seasons of the 21 American orchestras with the highest operating budgets. Here were the two main findings: 19% of composers featured will be women—53 women composers out of 277 total…. 8% of works that will be performed are composed by women—79 works by women out of 927 works total…. These numbers both represent an increase from previous years…. All 21 orchestras have included at least one work by a woman in their 2019-20 season…. This uptick may suggest that orchestras are slowly but surely expanding the presence of women composers in their programming…. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s [originally] announced … 2018-19 season … did not feature a single work by a woman composer. [In response to criticism] the Philadelphia Orchestra … created new initiatives and revised their 2018-19 season to include greater gender diversity. One year later, they have continued along this trajectory…. Their emergent commitment to both programming and supporting women composers could serve as a roadmap for peer organizations.” 

Posted May 15, 2019