Thursday, 21 April 2016

Getting beyond the 4% - London Oriana Choir's five15 project

Cheryl Frances Hoad
Cheryl Frances Hoad
The London Oriana Choir, music director Dominic Peckham, is launching a striking new project, five15, which aims to raise the profile of classical music written by women across the UK. In a survey conducted for the choir, only 4% of those questioned could name a woman composer. 

At the core of the project is the commissioning from five women composers of a total of 15 choral works across the next five years. This starts with the appointment of Cheryl Frances-Hoad as the choir's composer in residence.

five15 starts with a concert at the Cutty Sark on 6 July 2016, which will feature music from the first commission. The concert is part of a programme of events marking the re-opening of the Queen's House in Greenwich, and marks the beginning of a longer term collaboration between the London Oriana Choir and the Royal Museums of Greenwich with the choir becoming choir-in-residence for three years.

Over the next five years the choir plans include a programme of new performances, educational projects, recordings and other initiatives to raise the profile of classical music written by women across the UK, as well as helping to encourage and develop the talents of new young writers. The choir will be publishing an anthology of work by British women composers, including the works commissioned by the choir, and there will also be an album recording of all the commissioned works.

Ipsos MORI carried out a survey on behalf of the London Oriana Choir between 26th February and 1st March 2016 amongst a representative quota sample of 981 adults aged 16-75 in Great Britain. Survey data were weighted according to the known population profile of GB for age, gender, region, social grade and working status.
  • Only 3% of respondents named a woman composer when asked to name any composer of symphonic or choral music
  • When asked specifically to name a woman composer, only 4% of adults could name a woman composer
  • Most named female composers – Clara Schumann (12 mentions), Hildegard of Bingen (5 mentions), Fanny Mendelssohn (4 mentions) and Judith Weir (4 mentions)
  • About 3 in 5 adults (57%) can name at least one composer Beethoven was the most commonly named (33%), followed by Mozart (29%), Bach (24%), Handel (15%) and Tchaikovsky (11%)

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