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Montclair University Turns the Mic Towards Women

Quick, name a composer! What, no women? All that came to mind was Beethoven, Mozart, or Bach, right? How about a performance artist who’s a woman? No? Don’t feel too bad. You’re not alone.

The gender gap in classical music and other arts is one that has recently caught fire with discussion, and as a response, Montclair State University in New Jersey has decided to do something about it.

Peak Performances, the university’s reputable Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, has decided that its upcoming season will consist entirely of new works, whether it be classical music or art performances, by exclusively women.

“The lineup features premiere performances across theater, music and dance,” the New York Times states. Performers include composer Ashley Fure, choreographer Pam Tanowitz, and theater director Karin Coonrod. There are some names for your mental list!

To name just one of the many performances, the New York Times notes, “…cellist Maya Beiser will perform the world premiere of Spinning, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe.”

This season Peak Performances allows for new female artists to shed light on the works of other well known female artists, just like this one. This symbolic passing of the baton is not only inspiring, it’s refreshing.

In a powerful statement, Jedidiah Wheeler, Peak Performances’ executive director, said “the temper of the times demands a statement: there is no excuse for the remarkably slow progress toward gender parity in the arts.”

Wheeler couldn’t be more right. There is no excuse for such lagging progress towards representation of women in the world of the arts. Support Peak Performances and attend some performances if you find yourself able! We all need to update our mental lists of artists, composers, and performers to make sure that they not only recognize the best, but that all are included.

Maybe next time someone asks for a list of performers, artists, and composers, we’ll all be able to add women to the list, right there beside Mozart and Beethoven.

Featured Image by Patrick Breitenbach on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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