One-third of this orchestra’s season is music by women

One-third of this orchestra’s season is music by women


norman lebrecht

April 08, 2018

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic will play music by 60 female composers in 2018/19, amounting to 35% of its repertoire output.

Among the highlights are 20 works by Thea Musgrave (pic) to be played in a single week, the resurrection of Dame Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D major and Lili Boulanger’s Faust et Hélène.

Thea will be 90 in May.

The ever-eclectic Sakari Oramo presides as music director.

You see, it can be done.


  • Thomas Roth says:

    Great, but they have completely forgotten the 20th century Swedish composer. As has almost every other orchestra in Sweden.


    Ethel Smyth’s oratorio (and quite possibly her greatest work) The Prison was performed last night in Pennsylvania by the Johnstown Symphony; James Blachly was the conductor. Though previously performed here with piano, this was the first performance in the USA with an orchestra. Things are looking up for the Dame.

  • Things are indeed looking up for Dame Ethel — and it’s about time! This chorus will also do The Prison on May 11. The BBC Symphony Orchestra will also perform Smyth’s Mass on Nov. 15 with Sakari Oramo conducting. On Oct. 27 and 28, Arcadia Opera will perform The Wreckers . has produced an excellent CD of The Boatswain’s Mate, and has announced they will also do one of Fête Galante.

  • Schwalde Hochküst says:

    When you see all the homeless people sleeping on the steps of the Stockholm Concert House every night, you get the feeling of a country that has lost itself. So with all this crap music that will be presented next season in the name of political correctness. For chamber music, there are charming and very beautiful shorter works by female composers. But symphonies, choral works, operas? Give. Me. A. Break. This is sooo pathetic. What a “bärendienst” to female composers. Let them compete on equal terms with men. If they’re good enough, they’re good enough.

    • Bruce says:


      • If it’s written by females it’s probably crap.
      • To pay money to produce or perform art while there is injustice in the world is a terrible thing.

    • James Obuntu says:

      Is there a major modern city is the western world that doesn’t have a homeless problem?

    • Brettermeier says:

      “If they’re good enough, they’re good enough.”

      What I heard from (modern) male composers over the last years surely wasn’t good enough, but played anyway. Obviously that’s no criteria. So why not play music from female composers (not even 50%…) instead. If it’s crap, well, then it’s crap. Same applies for male composers, mind you.

      • Schwalbe Hochküst says:

        True, but I have the feeling here that it is the Johannes Passion that will be replaced with “A Dumpster Diving Cantata In Three Garbage Bins” by LTBQQ vegan compostress (adressed as “xir”) Aflynde Hogarth

        • Brettermeier says:

          “A Dumpster Diving Cantata In Three Garbage Bins”

          The title alone is intriguing. But yet again I don’t think it’s some whatever vegan composer’s music specifically that’s replacing Bach. It is the theater’s director who is responsible for the repertoire. If he or she chooses to play only modern operas a season (for whatever mad reason), it’s not the composer’s fault.

          I think it’s a good idea to pair ‘classics’ (like the Johannes Passion) with some lesser known or modern works. 1/3 for the latter seems like a good ratio (if there’s something that’s statistically enjoyable for the average audience in the program, too). And whether it’s Crumb or Gubaidulina, well, I do not fancy either one. Independently of their eating habits, way of life or partner of choice.

  • Ben says:

    People who are obsessed with complete gender equality should read this:

    Such activists may say our civilization is advancing forward when striving toward complete gender equality. Biologically, however, it cannot be done without our kind moving insanely backward.