Julia Wolfe on Evoking the ’60s in ‘Flower Power’

Julia Wolfe, composer (Photo: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

For all of the iconic protest music that came out of the 1960s and early ’70s, classical composers mostly stayed at a remove from that decade’s turbulent events. There were a handful of noted exceptions, of course, including Terry Riley, La Monte Young, George Crumb and Karlheinz Stockhausen, but their works were not exactly staples of mainstream orchestral programming. Now, fifty years on, composer Julia Wolfe aims to evoke the decade and its sounds in a new 30-minute orchestral work called Flower Power.

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Dearth of Women Composers Sparks Social Media Campaigns

Clara Schumann worked when women composers were rarely heard. Pictured with Robert Schumann.

Music by women composers accounts for just 1.3% of pieces performed by American orchestras during the 2016-17 concert season, according to a recent repertoire survey conducted by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Among living composers performed, women do somewhat better, accounting for 10.3% of all pieces. The survey examined the seasons of 85 orchestras, from small regional ensembles to the majors, and found that, as a whole, that there’s long way to go before gender balance is achieved in concert programming. Continue reading “Dearth of Women Composers Sparks Social Media Campaigns”