Monday, November 26, 2012

Tanglewood 2013

I have the BSO's press release for Tanglewood 2013 in hand. More details later this week, but here are a few items of interest.

  • Women don't conduct at Tanglewood.
  • Women don't appear as soloists, either. Oh wait, there's Anne Sophie von Otter, and there's BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe. And Christine Schaffer. And Erin Wall and Audra MacDonald. Okay, lots of stuff you can't do without women singing!
  • Women don't write music that's performed at Tanglewood. The contemporary music festival will focus on five composers, four of whom are living, one of whom is recently deceased, all of whom are male.
Honestly, the long parade of male names is pretty appalling. 


Elaine Fine said...

The problem goes far beyond one high-profile music festival. It has a gret deal to do with what brings an audience into a concert, particularly one that requires a serious track down the highway, and a day or weekend long time commitment.

I Imagine that there might be a composition fellow or two who is not male, and I imagine that the BMC might even play something by a woman (or two) in a chamber music concert (or two), but it seems that from a marketing perspective women aren't "selling" these days as much as most of us would like them to be "selling."

Perhaps this trend towards all male soloists has something to do with the onslaught of violin and cello "babes" that graced the high profile orchestral soloist scene in the recent past.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I don't know - the female soloists who appear in SF are great musicians who sell tickets. Some of 'em are also good looking. Do Hilary Hahn, Yuja Wang, Midori, Leila Josefewicz, Jennifer Koh, Valentina Lisitsa, Alisa Weilerstein (I think she is FROM Boston?) etc. not sell on the east coast?

Mary Jane Leach said...

I don't think the marketing perspective has anything to do with women not being programmed, although I think that the reasons behind programming women performers is a lot different from programming composers and conductors. I live in the whole Tanglewood, SPAC summer festival glut, and women performers seem to be programmed as much as men and there doesn't seem to be audience falloff when women perform. That said, it's the curators who program/choose the composers, and that is the old boys network, which Tanglewood epitomizes.

Elaine Fine said...

Perhaps it is a different audience. Who knows? Or maybe it is just a coincidence. I imagine that soloists for these festivals are organized by managers, and many years in advance.

I should add that Tanglewood is also not the greatest place to play in the summer. It requires a lot of time and a lot of ground travel, and you are subjected to the elements (weather and temperature) and the hungry mosquitoes, which probably salivate in their mosquito-y way at the sight of bare shoulders.

The mostly male composer thing is the same old story, and that isn't likely to change for a long time.