Representation of Women to Increase in New RIAM Season

Members of the RIAM Philharmonia

Representation of Women to Increase in New RIAM Season

Performance of first opera by a woman composer from 1625, a Boulanger Day, a new work by Siobhán Cleary, and a commitment to include at least one female composer in 2019 morning concerts among initiatives announced.

The Royal Irish Academy of Music has announced its 2018/19 event season and a commitment to increase the representation of women in its programming.

The season, which contains over 100 concerts, masterclasses, opera performances, talks, lectures and workshops will run from September 2018 to May 2019.

Announcing the programme, Ciara Higgins, Head of Artistic Programming, said

This year we have made a concerted effort to increase the representation of women in our programme of events … This is the real start of our journey to place women – composers, performers and pedagogues – centre stage in our programming output in the years ahead.

For the third year running, the RIAM will stage an opera by a woman. On 17 and 18 May, the Academy will present Francesca Caccini’s 1625 comic opera Alcina at the Freemasons’ Hall in Dublin.  In 2017, the RIAM premiered Siobhán Cleary’s Vampirella (read our review here), and this year performed Judith Weir’s Scipio’s Dream. A new work by Cleary, Ondine, will also be premiered at a concert at the National Gallery of Ireland on 18 October, and works by Caccini, Barbara Strozzi and Isabella Leonarda will be performed at a concert on 14 March.

On 23 November, the Academy presents a performance in Leinster House to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage and will highlight the new generation of Irish female composers. On 25 November, Academy musicians will present a ‘Boulanger Day’, celebrating musicians and composers Nadia and Lili Boulanger. On 17 May, the Academy presents the now annual Saluting the Feminists, a day-long celebration of women composers. The contribution of two pedagogues, cellist Aisling Drury Byrne and the late Deirdre Doyle, will be celebrated in concerts on 26 January and 23 February.

The RIAM has also made a commitment to include music by at least one female composer in each of its 11:11 coffee morning concerts from January to March 2019.

Next January at Kilmaimham Gaol Museum, the RIAM will present the Irish première of Stephen McNeff’s opera Banished. The work, an adaptation of a Steve Gooch play Female Transport to a libretto by Olivia Fuchs, tells the story of women who were transported to Australia in the last years of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The opera was given its world premiere by Trinity Laban in London in 2016.

Among the other RIAM events are a six-week ‘Highly Opinionated History of Opera’ with Anka (mezzo-soprano Liz Ryan) and Deborah Kelleher starting on 5 October, and three concerts by the the RIAM Philharmonia – Haydn, Liszt/Adams and Ligeti on 25 October conducted by Michel Galante; Mendelssohn and Beethoven on 7 Marchconducted by Gerhard Markson; and Schubert, Respighi and Mendelssohn on 16 May with Markson also.

As part of the RIAM/National Gallery of Ireland Visiting Artists Series, Sir James Galway will perform on 7 December at the NGI, John O’Conor on 16 December, Iain Burnside on 11 January, guitarist Xuefei Yang on 31 March, and violinist Daniel Rowland on 28 April.

There will also be masterclasses over the course of the season from artists such as Brenda Hurley (Director of the International Opera Studio in Zurich), chamber music specialists Chiara Staibano and Alessandro Baccini, cellist Natalie Clein and bassoonist Peter Whelan.

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Published on 24 September 2018

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