Classical music needs to address lack of female composers, Radio 3 presenter claims

Sara Mohr-Pietsch was speaking ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday

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The Independent Culture

The classical music industry needs to confront gender stereotypes which are preventing female composers winning recognition, Radio 3 presenter Sara Mohr-Pietsch has said.

“We need the whole industry to have an open debate,” Mohr-Pietsch told Radio Times. “Why do six of the main music publishers have only between three per cent and 17 per cent women on their books? Is it because not enough women are composing or because they are, but they’re not being commissioned?”

Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday, which Radio 3 will mark a schedule of entirely female composers, Ms Mohr-Pietsch said: “You look at the complete classical canon and see that there are very few women in it. When Clara Schumann married Robert, for example, she had to put her status as a composer aside because there was an unwritten rule that there could only be one composer in the house.”

Female composers often miss out on grants “because women put themselves forward for competitive assessment less often than men… No one is suggesting that women get somewhere because of their gender over merit, but the assumption that ‘we haven’t got any women because the men were better’ means you aren’t looking hard enough,” the presenter wrote.

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