The Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe will read through works by six female composers—Melody Eötvös, Robin Holcomb, Chen-Hui Jen, Hilary Purrington, Xi Wang, and Nina C. Young—on September 6, 2018 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The six composers whose music will be featured on this showcase, which was organized in partnership with the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), were all selected from the alumnae of ACO’s Underwood, EarShot, and Jazz Composer Orchestra Institute programs. In addition, to having their works rehearsed and recorded, the composers will participate in meetings with Orchestra leadership and roundtable conversations with the Orchestra’s Artistic Committee and mentor composers, and will receive feedback from co-facilitators, ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and native Philadelphian Melinda Wagner.
According to Peter Dobrin (who wrote about this new program in The Philadelphia Inquirer):
The orchestra stirred an outcry in January when it announced a 2018-19 season without a single female composer. … The initiative marks a new direction for the orchestra. Orchestra officials say the ensemble has not in recent memory played through new works with no planned performances, but, rather, with the sole intention of providing feedback to and cultivating relationships with composers.