‘A stronger presence of women composers on concert programmes and on the airwaves is well overdue’: Fourth Finding a Voice Festival to be Streamed Online in March
Finding a Voice, the annual festival dedicated to the music of women composers, has announced its programme for this year’s event. The festival, which will be streamed online from Clonmel, will take place from 5 to 8 March and will feature concerts with works by composers including Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, Keiko Abe and Rhona Clarke. Finding a Voice, which was founded in 2017 by sisters Róisín Maher (Curator and Lecturer at CIT Cork School of Music) and Clíona Maher (Director of Clonmel Junction Arts Festival), will also celebrate the bicentenary of the French composer and mezzo-soprano Pauline Garcia Viardot (1821–1910).
The theme of the festival is ‘It’s About Time’, with each of the concerts focusing on the concept of time in different iterations. On 5 March, the opening concert will be free to view and will see percussionist Alex Petcu-Colan perform a number of works by Japanese composer Keiko Abe, one of the world’s most celebrated marimba composers, along with music by Evelyn Glennie, Ella Macens, Elena Kats-Chernin, Elaine Agnew, Andrea Keller and Kate Moore.
Fiddle player Marja Gaynor, piper David Power and guitarist John Walsh will perform a concert of traditional music and early music on 6 March. Later that day, soprano Kelley Lonergan Petcu and pianist Gabriela Mayer will present a recital of works by Garcia Viardot, while actor Aideen Wylde will read excerpts from the letters and diaries of the composer.
On Sunday 7 March, the first concert of the day will feature an improvised performance by the duo of pianist Izumi Kimura and Cora Venus Lunny on violin which will be free to view. Pianist Ellen Jansson will later perform Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel’s epic Das Jahr, the significant work which chronicles the composer’s travels in Italy over thirteen movements, covering the twelve months of the year and an epilogue.
The final day of Finding a Voice 2021, 8 March, is also International Women’s Day and will begin with a concert by soprano Elizabeth Hilliard and David Bremner on piano performing works by Irish, French, and Belgian composers including Nadia Boulanger, Augusta Holmès, Poldowski and featuring Rhona Clarke’s song cycle The End of Day. The closing concert of the event will see musicians from the Irish Baroque Orchestra (violinist Claire Duff and Malcolm Proud on harpsichord) return to the festival for the third year running to perform a programme of works from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Isabella Leonarda’s Sonata Duodecima and Prelude in A minor and Sonata no.1 in D minor by Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre.
Commenting on the theme of this year’s festival, Artistic Director of Finding a Voice, Róisín Maher, said:
The idea is that the concerts focus on the notion of time in all its different iterations. This could be the passage of time, or time of the day, month, year, or time in a musical sense, relating to rhythm, tempo and duration. Of course, there’s another meaning to the phrase ‘It’s About Time’, in that a stronger presence of women composers on concert programmes and on the airwaves is well overdue. In four years, Finding a Voice will have programmed music by more than eighty women composers from the twelfth century to the present day, showcasing the wealth of creativity of women through the ages and around the world, and demonstrating that there is certainly no shortage of talent and repertoire out there.
Audiences can purchase a festival pass for €40, or tickets can be purchased for each concert individually, with prices ranging from €5 to €12. For further details, visit: https://www.findingavoice.ie/