BBC Radio 3 announces two world premiere performances for International Women’s Day

New commissions by Ella Jarman-Pinto and Natalie Klouda reflect on the past year and the challenges faced by women

Composer Ella Jarman-Pinto

Radio 3’s celebration of female composers will include the world premiere of two new works which have been commissioned for International Women’s Day (8 March), one of which is by Ella Jarman-Pinto, who has set a text which explores the emotional impact of the pandemic on women. The poem by Jo Brandon has been set by Jarman-Pinto in a new work for soprano and piano titled ‘Plango: A Cure Lament’. The other new commission in this year’s International Women’s Day programming is by Natalie Klouda. Her new work, Nightscapes 2020, is an ode to the nights spent inside during lockdown and will be performed by pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, in a Lunchtime Concert that will also feature works by Clara Schumann and Sofia Gubaidulina. Ella Jarman-Pinto’s work will be given its premiere on the In Tune programme (5-7pm).

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The main celebrations will take place from 8-9 March, with additional programming throughout the rest of the week. British composer and pianist Ruth Gipps will be the focus of Composer of the Week as we mark her centenary year. She was quite the polymath, becoming the youngest British woman to earn a doctorate in music at the time, and went on to win composition prizes and pursue an illustrious performing career. Her orchestral work Knight in Armour was selected by Sir Henry Wood to be performed in the 1942 Last Night of the Proms.

A through-the-night concert from the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra sees in International Women’s Day itself with a concert of works exclusively written by female composers, including Fanny Mendelssohn, Ethel Smyth and a tranche of contemporary Slovakian composers.

Georgia Mann presents a live evening concert (7.30-10pm) from the Watford Colosseum with a concert of works by female composed led by conductor Jessica Horsley as part of the Swiss frauenkomponiert Festival. The programme will include works by Ruth Gipps, Peggy Glanville-Hicks and Cecile Marti, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.

The Radio 3 Afternoon Concert slot throughout the week (2-5pm) will be dedicated to the music of female composers over a 300-year period. Programmes will include Cecile Chaminade’s symphonic ballet Callirhoë; Errollyn Wallen‘s choral work PACE, which represents a single human breath; and music by Elfrida Andrée, the first Swedish woman to graduate as an organist and to be appointed a cathedral organist – at Gothenburg Cathedral in 1867.

Sound of Cinema (Saturday 6 March) will focus on women film composers, and the women who have followed in the footsteps of Rachel Portman, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Score 25 years ago.

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The Essay throughout the week will focus on Virginia Woolf‘s concept of ‘Shakespeare’s Sister’ and tells the stories of other overlooked but talented female siblings of famous historical figures. Each day, a new woman will be the focus of the programme, with Maria Anna Mozart and Fanny Dickens among them.