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New York City
Wednesday 7 February 2024

Beyond the 2 Percent—A Manifesto: Raising the Bar for Womxn Composers

Watch as the panel creates and signs a global manifesto demanding immediate change and decolonization in a still deeply entrenched patriarchal field.

Wednesday 7 February 2024
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Vienna Festwochen Festival and the Segal Center host a panel in New York calling for action to address the devastating current state of representation when it comes to womxn composers in music spaces, especially in opera houses and in concert halls. They create and sign a global manifesto demanding immediate change and decolonization in a still deeply entrenched patriarchal field resistant to change—with representatives from New York art institutions, Vienna Festwochen Festival artistic director Milo Rau, and others.

Did You Know That Only 2 Percent of the Works Included in the Concert Subscriptions Hail From Women?

At 13 percent, the average share of women in the program reaches its peak—and that’s only in cases of explicitly contemporary concert series. If the development towards equality continues to progress at the same rate as in the past decades, an equitable future will remain a distant prospect.

With the start of the new artistic directorship under Milo Rau, the Wiener Festwochen founded the Academy Second Modernism, a global platform that demands and promotes the visibility of womxn composers. Vienna is considered the capital of modernism, exemplified in music by Arnold Schönberg’s revolutionary soundscape. Yet, this modernity remains incomplete: eurocentric, masculine, and elitist. The Wiener Festwochen, with Nuria Schoenberg Nono as patron, are globalizing modernism, making it more female, and leading it into the present. Second Modernism wants to make good on the promise of modernism at long last, as a global platform of womxn composers in Vienna.

The aim of the Academy Second Modernism is the voluntary commitment of theatres, operas, festivals, concert halls, and ensembles to significantly increase the proportion of works by womxn composers in their programs. For each of the fifty female composition students of Schönberg who were forgotten or unheard in the past, the Wiener Festwochen will work together with Arnold Schönberg Center to welcome contemporary womxn composers from the whole world—in accordance with the number of Schönberg’s female students: ten per year over the course of five years, starting from 2024. As ambassadors of Second Modernism, the invited composers will present their compositions on two evenings (8 and 9 June). They will be performed by Klangforum Wien. During the day, the womxn composers develop strategies of visibility, form networks together and, as initiators of the music and theatre landscape, engage in public discourse with experts on this topic.

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HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based, peer-produced, open-access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world’s performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and develop our knowledge commons collectively. Anyone can participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email [email protected] or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal. View the video archive of past events.

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