Ever wonder why all the classical composers seem to be all dead white men?

Ever wonder where all the women are in classical music? Or if there were any?

It’s a fair question – look at any book about classical music and all you’ll see is a long list of mostly dead, mostly heterosexual white men. The natural assumption is that all classical music was written by men.

This is completely untrue. There have been many hundreds of amazing female composers over the centuries, many of whom gained remarkable success and recognition in their own time. They won prizes, composed symphonies and studied at prestigious institutions.

Many of these women composers knew all the ‘great’ male composers everyone knows. These women were their friends, colleagues, wives, daughters and students. They were often integral parts of the music scenes, respected and even adored by these male composers we all know.

So, Why Haven’t We Heard Of Any Of These Women Composers?

In every single instance each female composer, no matter how venerated in her lifetime, was obliterated from the musical history books. All these phenomenal composers without exception were completely wiped out of the canon after their deaths.

As a result the version of classical music we know is severely distorted and does not paint a clear picture of classical music history.

There’s been tons of work over the past few decades to write women composers back into the story, The scores from these composers are readily available and there are hundreds more recordings being made of these composers all the time.

Sadly this wealth of music has not reached the mainstream classical music industry. A survey of major orchestras around the world showed that in the 2018/2019 season 95% of concerts featured exclusively male composers. In number of works only 2.3% were composed by women.

The Daffodil Perspective

The Daffodil Perspective is a revolutionary new radio show based in London, UK, rewriting classical music history with a more accurate and gender balanced account. The Daffodil Perspective is showing how women fit into our current version of classical music history and exploring the stories of these women, their music and monumental achievements. Each episode features at least 50% of pieces and airtime by women composers.

The Daffodil Perspective has 3 aims:

  1. Rewrite the past
  2. Support the present
  3. Inspire the future

Rewriting the past: Every week The Daffodil Perspective is focusing on a different woman composer, exploring her life and music along with her famous male friends and contemporaries to provide a musical and historical context. In this way The Daffodil Perspective is connecting the dots of classical music history, creating a more accurate account.

Supporting the present: The Daffodil Perspective supports living composers, giving their work a platform to be heard. Each week Contemporary Corner showcases a piece by a living composer. The Daffodil Perspective also supports performers and organisations who are playing music by women composers. They are integral to getting music by female composers heard and accepted into the canon. The album of the week section features mostly new releases along with a few less recent releases.

Inspiring the future: The Daffodil Perspective believes in a gender balanced future. Every week the show features a complete 50/50 gender split of composers, with as close as possible to equal airtime. The Daffodil Perspective is a solution based organisation. It’s not complaining about the lack of women composers in concert programmes or new release lists and leaving it there, it’s highlighting the need for change in a positive way and most importantly offering gender balanced solutions that already exist.

Through the monthly newsletter, blog and regular new release round-ups on the show, The Daffodil Perspective offers positive gender balanced alternatives to the current patriarchy and male domination in most of the classical music industry.

You can see the full show archive here.

New show every fortnight on Mixcloud.

Here’s to a more gender balanced future!

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