Money from old violin goes to fund music by dead women

The pianist and ensemble leader Diana Ambache has given a large sum to the Association of British Orchestras Trust to fund performance of music by women composers. The only condition? The composer has to be dead.

From the rules:

-Each year £19,000 will be shared between 4 to 5 projects for concerts, tours, recordings and education work deemed to be doing most to advance and promote the understanding of music by women.

-Pieces should be for orchestra including opera and choral works that require an orchestra.

-Please note that if the composer is still alive the piece will be ineligible. Pieces by living women composers may be included in the programme, as long as the historical piece is the main work for which you are seeking funding.

The money was raised by from the sale of a Guarnerius del Gesu violin discovered by Nachman Ambache. The violin was restored by Peter Biddulph and loaned to the Vienna Phiharmonic Orchestra. It was sold in 2013.

Apply here.




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  • Quick clarification. The money doesn’t actually come from the sale of the violin, but is a generous legacy from Diana Ambache’s late mother. The ABO is incredibly grateful for the opportunity this has given us to help Diana bring works by historical women composers into the core repertoire.

    • Thanks, Mark. Diana’s website states that the sale of the violin enabled her to start the foundation for women composers.

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