ASO to debut Stand Beside Her project

Ethel Smyth
Anna Clyne
Gabriela Lena Frank
Florence Price
Joan Tower
Brooke Jee-in Newmaster

The Akron Symphony Orchestra will highlight the influential work of six women composers/artists during the 2019-20 season as part of the Stand Beside Her project.

Stand Beside Her is part of a yearlong recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote. In honor of the centennial, the following works have been selected for inclusion in the Stand Beside Her project:

Ethel Smyth was a 20th-century British composer and a champion of women’s rights and female musicians. During her lifetime, she composed symphonies, choral works (musical pieces written for a choir), and operas including The Wreckers (1906), and is most well-known for The March of Women, an anthem for the women’s suffrage movement. In 1922, she was named a Dame of the British Empire. 

Gabriela Lena Frank is currently serving as Composer-in-Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra and was named one of the 35 most significant women composers in history by The Washington Post in 2017.

Joan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than 50 years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator, and received the League of American Orchestra’s highest honor, the Gold Baton, in 2019.

Anna Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music. She served as composer-in-residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre national d’Île-de-France, and Berkeley Symphony. Clyne currently serves as The Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s Associate Composer.

Florence Price became the first African-American female composer to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra when Music Director Frederick Stock and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra played the world premiere of her Symphony No. 1 in E minor on June 15, 1933. She composed more than 300 works including symphonies, organ works, piano concertos, works for violin, and arrangements of spirituals, art songs, and chamber works.

Brooke Jee-in Newmaster was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted when she was five-and-a-half-months old. She has dedicated her life to learning about Korean culture through the arts and providing opportunities for other Korean adoptees, their families and communities to learn about Korean culture. Impressions of Cheonmachong is very much a family story beginning with Brooke’s adoption and her passion for reclaiming her Korean heritage and her brother’s love and his respect for Korean culture. The piece was co-composed by Brooke and her brother, Kyle.

To hear more about these composers and their works, please join us after each concert for our new TalkBack series. Facilitated by ASO violinist and Development Manager Kimia Ghaderi, this will be an opportunity to audience members to meet with a select panel of musicians for an informal, guided discussion on music and life.  

The Stand Beside Her project is part of the Akron Symphony’s vision to create dynamic and inclusive programming by presenting more works by traditionally underrepresented composers.

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