NPR

Don't Hire Me. Hire A Female Composer Instead

The number of female composers represented in the programming at America's top orchestras is dismal — less than 2 percent. Guest essayist Mohammed Fairouz proposes one provocative solution.
Missing from the music stands across top U.S. orchestras: music written by women. Source: Maxcam2008

As a composer, I entered a profession in which I knew I could actively alter our fractious present using the incomparable tools of art. After all, the intellectually curious and essentially progressive landscapes of our concert halls and opera houses seem like the perfect arenas in which to harness momentum for change and, through the aspirational craft of music, feel the resurrection of hope in the midst of despair and apathy.

Composers should be leading these conversations. We're not. The symphonic halls in which I work have singularly distinguished themselves among the humanities as the forum that takes the least account of the shape and form of humanity itself.

Women make up over half the world's population. But you still won't find their creative voices in the concert hall.

When it comes to concert music, we may be engaging with the only profession that actively discriminates against the living in favor of the dead. But even within that living minority, the numbers from a 2014-15 orchestral survey are a devastating embarrassment

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